There is not a thing we have to be thankful for in this country today. To listen and read what the pundits and talking heads are saying, all is for naught and we are on our way toward doom and the nation is sliding far too quickly along the proverbial road to hell, which we all know is paved with good intentions. Or, rather guided by the liberal agenda - according to the Republicans who are not ready to concede the election and who would rather wallow in their mud made of sour grapes and melancholy - oh what could have been?!? It is time to get a grip.
We are embarking on one of the favorite holiday seasons of the entire year. A time for giving thanks and welcoming family and friends into our homes and to share our Thanksgiving turkey (or ham, or whatever.) We will leave our tables Thursday and begin the celebrations that lead us to Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and the most precious celebration of all, the birth of Jesus. Even those who have no religious beliefs will start hanging lights, decorating trees and wrapping gifts for the big day - Christmas - a day of love, sharing and laughter. But what are we sharing today?
Today there is still too much bitterness and anger. The Republicans (of which I am one) need to stop crying about Nov. 6 and accept the fact that it is up to us to see that President Obama and the Congress keep us from going over the "fiscal cliff." It is up to us to support the efforts of those who are in power TODAY to get the economy back on track and keep each of us safe.
My husband, Richard, and I don't always agree when it comes to politics, but he was right when he said, "it is time to stop complaining about who won, the election is over and we all have the same president - his name is Barack Obama, we need to get on with the problems that face us today and stop whining about not winning."
After all, aren't the Republicans the first ones to raise their hands and tell President Obama to stop blaming George Bush? Well, it's their turn now. According to Webster, liberalism is defined (in part) as being associated with ideals of the individual, economic freedom, and greater individual participation in government.
Let me say, I am a Republican. But having said that, I can understand the need for individual rights and economic freedoms. I like the idea of being a part of a society that allows for freedom of speech, the right to contact my elected officials and to have a say in what I like and don't like about the many (sometimes too many) regulations that are put into place. Does that mean that I am going to change my political affiliation? No.
In all fairness to my Republican friends, I must agree that sometimes government goes too far, and I believe that there are indeed too many regulations, too much government and not enough transparency at all levels - starting right here at home in the big city of Dunkirk, New York. But that doesn't mean that I am going to berate or intentionally offend those who don't believe as I do.
Do I believe we have gone too far to the left? Yes! I believe we need less government, lower taxes, a strong national defense, limited regulation of business, and most of all individual financial responsibility for personal needs. But that doesn't mean that I am going to fold my arms across my chest and stomp my feet because my candidate lost the election.
I will write to my elected officials. I will make my voice heard. I will work toward changes that I believe are necessary to make this country better - for everyone. But I won't join the constant barrage of name-calling and childish behaviors that I have seen and read lately.
We are ready to begin a most honored tradition. Tomorrow there will be turkeys to carve, cranberries to share and prayers to be said. Soon, we will be wrapping presents with pretty paper and silk ribbons to be placed under a lighted Christmas tree (if we are lucky) to be opened with friends and family. There will be a Presidential Inauguration in January for OUR President, Barack Obama.
This country has many things that need to be fixed, but we have more things right than wrong. Hilary Clinton said it best when she said, "It takes a village to raise a child." And it will take a village to bring America back to where our children receive the best education in the world, jobs are plentiful, and everyone can live the American Dream. Richard is right; it is time to stop whining so we can all start winning.
Thursday is Thanksgiving! Let's give thanks for all that we have and pray for those who have been elected - whether we voted for them or not.
Have a great day and a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident and author. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org