Counting Our Blessings

Conservatism hasn't had so much reason for hope in decades.

It may be politically incorrect to talk about it these days, but Thanksgiving is the most American of holidays and perhaps the greatest contribution of American culture to the world.  There have of course always been days of public corporate thankfulness - the children of Israel are recorded as singing songs of joy and gratitude in the book of Exodus after escaping slavery in Egypt - but only in America is public thanksgiving both such an essential part of our national myth and a public holiday of such potency that even the best efforts of the antireligious media culture have made few inroads into erasing it.

Despite our many blessings, Americans in general are a rather spoiled and fairly ungrateful bunch, particularly when compared with what most of the rest of the world has to live through most of the time. As we've pointed out frequently, there is no true poverty in America: the poorest bum on an American street has better food, clothing, and medical care than at least half the world today and easily 95% of all people throughout all of human history.

Yet we're still unhappy, and for apparently sound reasons, as we expound regularly in the pages of this magazine.  Which is why it's so important in these troubled and turbulent times to recall just how much we still have to be thankful for.

But more than that: slowly building over the last decade has been a hope for the future not seen since the glory days of Ronald Reagan.  It is certainly not Morning in America, and in much of the rest of the world it's a gathering twilight, but we still think we can see the possibility of a gleam over the horizon.

Consider the presidential candidates.  When was the last time the Democratic Party had a serious candidate who, as a general rule, tried to tell the truth as he understood it?  John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Mike Dukakis, and most especially Hillary Clinton were all infamous for saying whatever they thought would benefit them at that moment in time.  Reality never entered into it, or, in the case of Barack Obama, a temporary "reality distortion field" seemed to eclipse the truth for a time in alliance with the covering efforts of the media.

Yet today, Hillary is being given a serious run for her money by Bernie Sanders, who quite openly and proudly proclaims himself to be the Socialist that most Democratic voters really want.  He freely admits that he wants national health care; he plainly expounds on his desire to raise taxes and grow the size of government.  We disagree with everything he says and believe that his policies would lead to fiscal collapse, but his honesty can be respected and even admired.

Then there is the Republican side.  We have generally supported the Republican candidate over the years as the lesser of two evils, though many is the time we've flirted with pulling the lever for Mickey Mouse.  Yet not since Pres. Reagan have we really wanted the nominee.

Mitt Romney?  Meh.  John McCain?  Please. Bob Dole?  Zzzzz.... George W. Bush was a decent man but, alas, decent is not good enough these days.

For the first time in lo these many years, we have not just one, but several candidates who don't require a reality distortion field to imagine actually fighting and winning for conservative causes.

You may not like Donald Trump or his hairdo, but can anyone doubt that he would make every effort to keep his promise of deporting every single illegal and building a serious wall to keep them out?  No, he won't get every last one; but he'll at least try, and if he's serious about telling the courts to shove it, he might get a good 90% of them.

Dr. Ben Carson is not so loud or brash, but in some ways he sees the threat to America more clearly and is just as willing to say the unsayable.  When in living memory has a national politician had the guts to say what should be transparently obvious: Muslims have no business in the White House?  Again, President Carson might not be able to fully eliminate the Muslim threat to American life and liberty, but there is no doubt that he'll try and succeed at least in part.

Then there's Ted Cruz, who is so skilled at debate from his college days that even the New York Times could find no criticism of more substance than to complain about just how good, effective, and determined an orator he was.  He too aggressively pushes the commonsense position that we should accept only the Syrian Christians who are being murdered and enslaved in droves and keep out the self-detonating Muslims.

In saying this, he answers Mr. Obama's petulance and childishness with even more effective and ridiculous displays of machismo.  The more the leftist media derides him, the more middle America chuckles and agrees with what he says.

These are just the top tier.  Carla Fiorina, by herself, does a better job of expounding conservative principles than any presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan, and she's a distant runner-up!  The other Republicans have their weaknesses but each has at least one strength unmatched by any of the Democrats.

We can't recall a time when our side had such a solid bench, even the possibility of choosing between superstars, and a climate where victory for conservatism - not just Republicans - seems possible.  We are finally taking about the issues that really matter, which has been forbidden jointly by both parties for decades - and as the saying goes, the first step to solving a problem is recognizing that we have one.

Well, America has taken that first step - at the last possible minute perhaps, but we've done it.  There is hope!  We still have a viable electoral process; and now, we even have determined fighters on our side who'll use it to best effect.

We're looking forward eagerly to next Thanksgiving, when - fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray - we'll have something far more solid to be thankful for.

Until then, we'll count our blessings - all fifteen of them, or eight, or three, or, eventually, one big one.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
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