Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Returning to optimism

November 20, 2012

Sometimes, if you read comments made in the letters to the editor column in the daily newspaper or listen to talk radio, you would think that the entire country is one huge mess. It seems to me that we need a national dose of enthusiasm and thankfulness. While I’ve been accused of being the eternal optimist I really believe that our best days are ahead. It is time to return to our national optimism.

Certainly part of the problem is that we just completed the national elections and maybe that is reason enough to be thankful and happy. The trouble is that we have spent so much time demonizing each other that we have lost our belief in the future.

First, we need to remember that our nation has come through a lot of tough times before. The first Thanksgiving was set during the midst of the brutal and bloody civil war. Thankfully that national bloodbath ended and while it took a lot of time, we finally were able to heal the wounds and move forward.

We have celebrated Thanksgiving in much darker days than now. Of course, there was the long, brutal depression, followed by World War II. We certainly can be thankful that the greatest generation moved our nation forward.

Do you remember the anti-government feeling during the Vietnam War? Many truly believed that protests would lead to the end of our nation. Yet, as quickly as it started, the protests ended. I am thankful that cooler heads were elected to office and restored our nation.

There are many times that the nation faced seemingly insurmountable odds. I recently read an article about the flu epidemic of 1918-1919 and the thousands of deaths and family grief caused by the silent killer. Thankfully, that passed and we have new, wonder drugs that prolong both the length and quality of life.

It’s time to let the rancor of the election go and work together. We can be thankful that there is a glimmer of cooperation in Washington, D.C., and it needs to grow from embers into a blaze of progress working to move the nation forward.

The list of national challenges goes on and on. Yet in each and every case, Americans have stepped up to answer the challenge and a stronger nation emerged. Certainly, the future is bright if we grasp it. I am thankful that our great nation will be even stronger and more prosperous in the future.

Let’s banish pessimism and become optimistic about the world. We can be thankful that many evils have been eliminated, yet there is much more to do.

Personally, we all have a lot to be thankful for in our everyday lives. One person told me than he would never be happy about getting up in the morning and going to work. He said he changed his mind. After two years of being unemployed, he is thankful every day for the opportunity to earn a living. Yes, those who have a job have much to celebrate.

I am thankful for a lot of little things. I never thought that I would be joyful that I can type a column again. After having a stroke, I soon learned to celebrate tying my shoes or my tie. I am happy to be able to attend my grandsons’ sporting events and make it, with a bit of help, into the stadium. I enjoy a quiet breakfast and time to read the newspaper. My list could go on and on, but I am most thankful for my wife and family.

For me, thanksgiving comes 365 days a year. I am happy to be alive. Everyday is a new thrill – an adventure – no matter how mundane. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new and maybe to help someone else. Make no mistake I am enthusiastic not only about the future of our country but everything.

If I could do anything, it would be to pass my enthusiasm on to others. Yes, I am thankful that I live in the greatest era in the history of the world. I hope that everyone has a great thanksgiving and recounts the many reasons that we are very fortunate.

Have a wonderful holiday and if you are on the road, please be careful.


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