Thursday, November 21, 2013

Give Thanks

Every Thanksgiving for as many years as I can remember, my mother had a tradition at Thanksgiving dinner. After my father prayed over the food, my mother asked each of us to name one thing that had happened in the last year that we were thankful for. As I got older, knowing that I would have to state what I was grateful for, I started thinking about the year a couple of weeks in advance of the holiday, and I found that even in difficult years, I had a lot to be thankful for. My mother's tradition, which she continues to this day, has helped me to really think about the meaning of Thanksgiving each year.

For many of us, 2013 has been an exceptionally tough year. Last Thanksgiving, as I looked at 2013 knowing that Obama had been re-elected and there was no chance of stopping the onslaught of new regulations which would--and did--close my mortgage company of fifteen years, I had very little hope. In fact, 2013 turned out to be a brutal year, for me and for a lot of other people. With 90 million unemployed and underemployed Americans and the lowest participation in the workforce in decades, it might be very easy for a lot of us to focus on the problems rather than our blessings. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving I have compiled a list of some items for which I personally am grateful.

1. Obamacare is now in serious danger. After years of warnings that Obamacare would spike premiums, raise the cost of health care, and limit access to good medical care for millions of Americans, the whole nation is now having to admit what we have known all along. Finally even the mainstream media is starting to line up against this mess--the new issue of Time Magazine is featuring a realistic portrayal of the long-term consequences of President Obama's signature law. In addition to the five million people who have lost their individual plans, there are as many as 100 million more Americans who stand to lose their employer-sponsored health plans next year.

Don't misunderstand--I am not glad that people are losing their health coverage. But I am glad that this nation is finally waking up to the real-world consequences of socialist big government. The truth is that Obamacare is desolating the U.S. economy. It is transforming Americans into a nation of part-time and temporary workers with no hope of bettering their situations. Unfortunately, most Americans overlooked the obvious problems with this law until they could see how it was going to personally affect them. Now, with Obamacare's popularity at just 31%, we might have a real chance for a full repeal, and that could turn around our entire economy.

2. The captain is sinking with his ship. None of President Obama's scandals or leadership failures has ever stuck in the past, but it is really hard to run away from a piece of legislation that in popular usage bears your name. The epic failure of the roll out of Obamacare has exposed in embarrassing detail just how out of touch and removed from reality President Obama really is. As his personal approval tanks along with approval for his law, he is going to have a much harder time steam rolling through other massive pieces of big government legislation, such as amnesty and gun control. The more weakened he is personally, the less damage he is able to do to the country.

3. For the first time in a long time we have a good number of solid, true conservatives in and out of government who are standing on principle fighting for the Constitution and smaller government. I am very encouraged by the work of Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah who have stood up against this government's most egregious abuses without fear or apology. And now there are others--Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, for instance. My own Congressional representative, Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico, is one of the lesser known, unsung heroes of the conservative movement. We have a solid block of conservatives who are willing to face ridicule and criticism and fight for the Constitution and that is something for which I, personally, am very thankful.

Not all of the champions of conservatism are in government. When Jim DeMint announced last December that he was leaving the Senate to take over leadership of the Heritage Foundation, I was depressed. DeMint was, for a long time, a lone voice for conservatism in the Senate, and I was sure that without him there would be no one at all to stand up for conservative values (a fear which proved to be completely unfounded.) While I agreed with his assertion that we lost the 2012 elections because we had failed to properly articulate our message to the American people, I did not believe that DeMint would be able to "sell" Americans on conservative values. I was wrong. Under DeMint's leadership, the Heritage Foundation's presence has grown dramatically. Some of this growth is easy to measure--Heritage has gained more than half a million new followers on Facebook this year. I share their material every morning and I can see that through a steady production of posters, pictures, videos and blogs, DeMint is explaining, clearly and concisely, why freedom is preferable to socialism, why small government is preferable to Big Brother, and how Americans can once again be exceptional. DeMint is a powerful reminder that one person who is completely focused can make an enormous difference. He is also a reminder that conservative principles DO make sense because they work in the real world--we just have to go out and share our message with everyone around us.

4. We are still alive, and we are not alone! "Don't worry about things--food, drink and clothes. For you already have life and a body--and they are more important than what to eat and what to wear. Look at the birds! They don't worry about what to eat--they don't need to sow or reap or store up food--for your heavenly Father feeds them...And why worry about your clothes? Look at the field lilies! They don't worry about theirs. Yet King Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautifully as they. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't He more surely care for you....So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time." (Matthew 6: 25-34 TLB)

Now that's something we can be thankful for every day! Happy Thanksgiving.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

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