Thursday, August 18, 2016


Political Mayhem Thursday: Gratefulness

Yesterday, the Washington Post ran a strange but compelling piece by Garrison Keillor titled Make the Most of Your Brief Time on Earth. Mixed in with his usual descriptions of church suppers, ointments, meatloaf, and the State Fair (all of which I favor, by the way) was this:

Life is good if you have your health and not all bad even if you don’t, which is sometimes forgotten in an election year, what with the high-pitched oratory on behalf of the embittered rich and people with ingrown toenails and what not. Apparently we are on the verge of losing our Second Amendment rights and will need to defend ourselves with tent stakes and bug spray. So I’ve heard people say.

Embedded in there is a fleeting reference to my least favorite part of the American political dialogue: the constant complaints by the most advantaged about their burdens. What we rarely hear, especially this go-round, is anything about gratefulness to be in this nation. I'm not one who believes in American exceptionalism (I think God graces people around the world, in every nation, by the equal value of their souls), or will ever be heard saying "USA #1!" unless I am discussing women's basketball or energy consumption. Yet, I am constantly grateful to live where I do, in this nation at this time. That is something that comes before any complaint I may have.

Certainly, there are those who suffer greatly under the failures of our nation: our failure to address racism, our failure to retain meaningful employment opportunities for a broad swath of the population, and our enduring frustration with educational institutions, particularly among the poor. It is legitimate to point to those problems, and important to address them.

But even with these challenges, there must be a time to see the good, as well... even if you are running for President.

I second that emotion. This is a great place to be. However, that is not to say that it is perfect or that improvements cannot be had. We need to strive for more justice in the world, as taught by the Messiah in Matthew 25, among other places, and among other religious leaders.
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