As always, I've got much to be thankful for at this time of year. My wife and I are healthy, we have good jobs that pay well and keep us challenged, and we've got family, friends, and a great kid who we love more than we can say.
But there's a reason it's called Thanksgiving. My wife and I know we aren't solely responsible for our good fortune. We didn't build this life all by ourselves. We've had the usual mix of good and bad decisions, good and bad luck. We've benefited from good public schools and subsidized higher education, not to mention fortuitous choices of parents. The live we have didn't have to be anywhere near as good, or as prosperous, as it's turned out to be. We know how lucky we are, and we're thankful.
And once you appreciate that your good fortune wasn't simply a natural result of your sterling character, wise choices, and responsible actions, the natural consequence is some compassion for those whose lives haven't turned out so well. To me, that's the message of the words that Stephen Foster wrote, an even century before I was born.
So the near-complete absence of compassion on the part of the Republican Party these days - the "if you don't work, you don't eat" logic behind devastating cuts to food stamps, either oblivious to or uncaring that there simply aren't enough jobs out there, and that too many of those jobs don't pay enough to feed one's family, is morally incomprehensible - and appalling - to me. The vast majority of these people consider themselves to be Christians. I don't know how that works, because if there was one sin Jesus condemned repeatedly, it wasn't homosexuality or abortion or any of those. It was hardness of heart. And these people have that quality in abundance.
I don't really think there's anything that can be done for people like that. The only answer for our nation is to demonstrate that we're a better country than that by defeating them politically, by marginalizing these alleged human beings so that they can never again deny things like food and medical care to people on the basis of a morally and intellectually warped ideology.
Well, time for something a bit more cheerful for the day. Like they say on the classic rock stations, there are lots of Christmas songs, but only one Thanksgiving song. I'm not tired of it yet.