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November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving

It’s right for us to be thankful when candidates and ideas we support win, and it’s only natural for us to be sad when they lose. Recently, though, I was wondering - when was the last time that I was thankful that we have elections at all? Remember, many people in the past didn’t have them, and many living right now don’t have real elections - for example, there was the recent so-called election in Hong Kong. When things don’t go my way in an election, am I so busy with my own sorrows that I forget how blessed we are to have elections at all? Nobody likes losing, but if I couldn’t remember that, perhaps I allowed myself to lose perspective.

When one or more elections doesn’t go my way, have I considered that I should be grateful for the people in uniform who have fought and died so that we could have elections and constitutions? When I see public servants stepping over boundaries or making unwise decisions, have I been grateful enough for other public servants who stay within their bounds and do their jobs whether or not they get thanked?

Perhaps even more revealing - do I remember any of these things when elections do go my way? Am I too busy congratulating myself and feeling good about myself and the triumph of my ideas to remember to be thankful for generations of Americans who made and make the efforts needed for orderly transitions of power and peaceful living with one another despite differences of opinion?

We shouldn’t stop voting for what we believe in, and we shouldn’t stop expecting public servants to make wise decisions, and staying within the bounds of their authority. Wanting better, or wanting the good we have to continue, shouldn’t stop us from being grateful for the good we have. Whether the elections go for us or against us, or whether the results are mixed, let’s remember to be thankful to God for what we still have.

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