The emotional capstone in the film Under the Tuscan Sun is a scene where writer and protagonist Frances Mayes is finally acknowledged and possibly welcomed with a glance, a nod, and a slight tip of her elderly neighbor’s hat. Despite her many strenuous efforts to achieve this acknowledgement, it occurred only after she stopped obsessing, worrying and agitating. With that old man’s tip of the hat, the whole world synchronizes, and settles into its natural wonderfulness.
Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for gifts already received, generally unwrapped, often intangible, usually simple and at times wondrous. The existence of those we have loved, love today and will love tomorrow is always at the top of the list.
This year, beyond the good gifts in our lives, there is also room for a political Thanksgiving as well. For those who crave limited government and human liberty, it may seem that our current American era of war socialism, nationalistic fervor against evil enemies, and the brave new State led by a corrupt plutocracy and standing armies leaves little to celebrate. But when you gather with family and friends this Thanksgiving, remember there are at least ten political gifts we have been given in 2005.
- Dick Cheney is falling down, and George W. Bush is racing him to the bottom. Most Americans believe that these two lied the country and the Congress into war. They didn’t do it by themselves, but it’s good to know they are finally getting some of the credit.
- That grand old bird of defense, Grandpa Rumsfeld, is plumb out of fifty-year-old swooning women, and he no longer finds many men, in uniform or out, who admire his substance or his style. The only thing steely about old Don these days is his spectacles. And no, I’m not talking about Iraq — I mean his eyeglasses. And that’s exactly how it ought to be.
- In 2005, everyone knows what "neoconservative" means. The neoconservative perspective (liberal nationalistic socialism at home, a militaristic nation-shaping program abroad, starting and probably ending in the Middle East) has taken over much of the Republican Party and a good part of the Democratic Party. Most people know this, too. They also know that neoconservatism is simultaneously elitist and devoid of new ideas. Most people also recognize that the main dish served by neoconservatives is leftover anti-communism, smothered in a red panic of Islamo-fascism. If you go to the store, you won’t find Islamo-fascism, bottled or canned. You won’t find it fresh or frozen. It was invented to flavor something Americans wouldn’t eat otherwise, and in fact is not produced either locally or abroad. Go figure!
- This Thanksgiving season, the Congressional flock has raised their fuzzy little heads, and they are beginning to make soft noises. At least for Iraq and this administration’s financial and foreign policy idiocy, the silence of the lambs seems to be over. Yes, it’s mostly due to the bloody congressional slaughters forecasted for 2006 and 2008. But remember, our democracy has only three fundamentals: Stay in office, avoid indictments, and find out where the people are going so you can get up in front of the crowd. God bless America!
- Patrick Fitzgerald is still alive and working. He is even still working criminal cases from his old job, like the one relating to Richard Perle’s good friend, Conrad Black. The Congress and the Defense Department IG are both examining Richard Perle’s other good friend, Doug Feith. Even the Congress is finally moving on the Part II investigation on how intelligence (and other stuff the administration heard on the global grapevine) was "politicized." You know, fixing facts around policy.
- Speaking of Richard Perle, we’ve heard little from him recently! That in itself is a blessing worthy of the top ten. He’s not writing, he’s not speaking, he’s not making soufflés for his friends. Instead of the toast of the town, Perle seems to be just toast.
- The Iraqis are on to us, as are the Afghans, the Iranians, the Egyptians, Syrians, and the Saudis. Karen Hughes, Condi Rice, hand-picked puppets Ahmad Chalabi and Hamid Karzai, and a host of sous-puppets in Iraq and Afghanistan have all worked hard to sell an American foreign policy buffet that is overpriced and awful, and unfortunately kills and maims many of those who partake. These countries have also recently discovered that the Chinese and unborn future Americans are sharing funding responsibility for the whole shebang. Oops, I guess that is something for them to be thankful for, and not us.
- Freedom is irreversible. Big government has huge advantages of power and force. But the trend of history has been the liberation of the individual, and the celebration of freedom of movement, markets, and minds. The state fundamentally resists this trend, and the 20th century fantastically demonstrated how states would and could slaughter individuals, and bind their souls. Yet in every case of state-led mass murder and indoctrination, the state could not kill the human spirit, destroy every challenger, arrest every free thinker, and lock up every child who saw that the emperor had no clothes.
- And the corollary to number 8 is that hot air dissipates rapidly! Specifically, I am referring to the heated and ever expanding attacks by the administration on those who criticize it for putting American soldiers in harms way through mendacity, greed and hubris once understood to be the realm of crazy kings and Caesars. But more and more Americans, and more quickly than ever before, recognize the hot air for what it is.
- USA Today just ran had an editorial piece entitled, "Is Our Faith in Government Dying?" The question was rhetorical. It could not be otherwise in America these days, and for this we should again be grateful.
These are just ten blessings in the political sphere, and there are many, many more. They didn’t all come about just because those who value liberty wanted them to, and worked hard. They didn’t come about solely because LewRockwell.com and Antiwar.com are great websites.
The political winds are changing in part because good always overcomes the baneful, the malignant, and the murderous. Sometimes we only know we are winning because someone glances up, catches our eye, and tips their hat in mutual recognition. Anti-state, antiwar and pro-market Americans, meet your neighbors! And enjoy Thanksgiving 2005!
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., [send her mail] a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon’s Near East/South Asia bureau. She lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and among other things, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com, hosts the call-in radio show American Forum on Saturday nights, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com.