Thanksgiving aims to fill us with gratitude for the bounty we enjoy, and I do enjoy plenty of it, as I have been blessed beyond measure with a loving family and friendships.
But I want to offer a brief expression of thanks for men who have long departed this good Earth. They are the founders of this great nation.
They created a government that would serve the nation they founded in the 18th century. It has worked well, despite its imperfections.
It is being tested today as Americans struggle over whose arguments will win the day. Do we heed those who believe in good government and in the tenets of fairness, equity and liberty or do we follow the precepts of those who purport to be patriots, but who in reality want to overturn elections and deny all Americans the same level of liberty?
I’m going to stick with the former, because that is what our founders laid out for us.
To be sure, the founders didn’t create a perfect governing document. The U.S. Constitution contained serious flaws. It failed to grant full citizenship rights to women, who didn’t even acquire the right to vote until 1920, for crying out loud! The Constitution also was silent on slavery, as it allowed human beings to possess other human beings as property, the way they owned farm implements. The nation got around to abolishing slavery in the19th century, but we had to go to war with ourselves to win freedom for everyone who lives here.
The founders did create a document that has proved pretty damn durable. It has withstood many crises over the two-plus centuries of our republic’s existence. I will continue to cling to the belief that it will weather this storm, too, just as it saw us through presidential scandals, the Civil War, presidential assassinations and assorted assaults on the beliefs that our founders held dear to their hearts.
I am going to keep the nation’s founders in my own thoughts this week as I join my family in celebrating this uniquely American holiday. Their effort at creating this great nation is so very worthy of our thanks.