May The Lord Bless And Keep Him
There's a great scene in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" that gave me pause recently. When the Ghost of Christmas Present is dragging Scrooge around to see what's going on beyond his miserly view, they stop by the home of his poor employee, Bob Cratchit. Bob offers a toast for his family: "To Mr. Scrooge, the founder of our feast."
Mrs. Cratchit plops herself down and refuses to drink the health of such a stingy old man as Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge. Finally, Bob convinces his wife to join him and the children in drinking to Scrooge. "I'll drink his health," she finally relents, "for your sake, Bob, and for the day's sake. But not for his."
It made me think: would I drink to Barack Obama's health? I'm completely convinced his policies are ruinously misguided, and that he's the worst president in my lifetime. In fact, I think he's probably the worst president, in terms of what a person in that office can and should do for our country, in the last hundred years (though Woodrow Wilson would give him a run for his money, at the bottom of my list). And, maybe even, the worst president in American history. There's no doubt he's trying hard to take the country in the opposite direction from that intended by its Founders, which, in my view, means taking the country "down."
But yes, I find I'm truly thankful for President Obama. And not just because, since he's so out-there on the far left, he's made himself thoroughly defeatable next year (and driven home a great reminder to the nation about what happens when you dabble too much in collective statism). That's just politics, and it's beneath the sanctity of this day of Thanksgiving - indeed, of the notion of sincere gratitude itself - to dwell on it.
I'm thankful that there's a guy out there in the Oval Office, working for us, dealing with the bazillion things presidents have to do on our behalf, and doing (I believe) his sincere best to try to "help." The fact that I think his view of what helps is completely wrong doesn't mean I don't appreciate his effort. I do.
I'm thankful for the work President Obama did to get himself elected, breaking barriers such as race that'd never been fully tested before. The fact that he had some advantages on the way up doesn't diminish the Herculean effort he had to put forth to get there, just as anyone who seeks the country's highest office must do. He didn't have to do it. He is trying to serve his country the best way he knows how, based on his upbringing, background, and frame-of-reference. I'm thankful to him for that, and to God for inspiring his effort.
I'm thankful for the good things the president has accomplished in office. The fact that most of his policies and acts have been, in my view, disastrous, does not change the fact that he's done some things well. Though I abhor violence as much as anyone, I applaud his removal from the planet of some of its worst bad guys, chief among them Osama Bin Laden (who would still be alive today if Mr. Obama hadn't consented to his elimination). I think his extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, though it probably galled him to do it, was the right move. And I do think he's learned a lot, and continues to learn what it takes to conduct the affairs of his office (and that not all the things he promised on the campaign trail would be practical). I am thankful for his efforts in these areas.
And, above all, I'm thankful that (as far as I know), he's safe-and-sound as I write this. He's put himself way out there, and I've greatly feared attempts on his life since before he was inaugurated. The only thing worse, in my view, than having a misguided man in the White House is having that man assassinated, and therefore posthumously lionized. And as much as I disagree with him, I certainly believe he fully deserves a chance to stand for re-election, and if defeated, hand over the reins to his successor in peace. I pray for the safety and health of President Obama, and I hope you will, too.
Happy Thanksgiving. And here's to the president. I wouldn't say he's the founder of our feast, but he's a decent fellow, our elected leader, and a person worthy of at least some gratitude from all of us.
One more question: If you're a real Obama fan, you might think my prayers for him insincere. They are not. I think it's a good exercise to remind myself that there's a good reason to drink to the health of any decent person.... it's good for me to be grateful for President Obama. So think of whichever president you feel has been the worst in your lifetime. Can you find some sincere reasons to be grateful for that man? Would you liberals, for instance, sincerely be able to drink to the health of George W. Bush on this fine, festive day?