Politics & Policy

Being Thankful


It hasn’t been a banner year. The United States is bogged down in a dispiriting war in Iraq, and North Korea and Iran continue to flout Washington’s warnings and “red lines” with seeming impunity. But here are some things to be grateful for even in the Thanksgiving season of our discontent:

#ad#‐ Democracy. We might be having trouble exporting it overseas, but it still works at home. If a political party becomes corrupt and ineffectual, the voters will find a way to force it from office, no matter how many institutional advantages it has stacked in its favor. The GOP just learned this lesson, and as soon as Democrats forget it, they will get a thumping of their own.

‐ Milton Friedman. The late economist was one of the 20th century’s most effective advocates for freedom, helping extend free markets here at home and spread them to places like China. He was a great scourge of inflation and helped provide Ronald Reagan with the intellectual ammunition to slay it in the early 1980s. His life — and his legacy — is an enduring testament to the power of ideas.

The Wounded Warrior Project . More than 20,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded in Iraq. The Wounded Warrior Project provides services to the most grievously injured and their families to help them return to civilian life.

‐ Muhammad Yunus. He won the Nobel Peace Prize this year, which is not necessarily a recommendation, since the prize often goes to anti-American hucksters. But he deserved it. His idea of microcredits — giving extremely small loans to extremely poor people to help them start businesses — has been a revolutionary tool in fighting poverty.

‐ YouTube. Politicians’ gaffes, late-night comics’ latest bits, inspired and zany clips from amateurs the world over — all a click or two away. Why didn’t someone think of this before?

‐ The anti-race hustlers. Bill Cosby famously has spoken out about the cultural problems that hold African-Americans back more than racism or other structural obstacles. National Public Radio’s Juan Williams has added intellectual heft to Cosby’s argument with his new book, Enough. They are brave men.

Save the Chimps . It and other organizations provide care and spacious homes for chimpanzees that have been used — and often abused — in entertainment and medical research, or as people’s pets. Their work is featured in a new PBS documentary. If chimp advocates seem fanatical, it is only right that someone go out of his way for these intelligent and affecting creatures.

‐ The pope. Whatever your faith or denomination, you have to be grateful that the West has such a figure, concerned with reconciling faith and reason, and operating always in the spirit of charity and love. Given other forms of religious expression the world has witnessed recently, this is a blessing indeed.

‐ Saturday afternoons. Maybe college football has, as the critics say, become a terrible racket, distorting university life and the ideal of amateur athletics. But for the average viewer the only response can be, “Who cares?” It’s just too much fun.

‐ Mukhtaran Bibi. This young Pakistani woman was sentenced to gang-rape by her village elders after her younger brother was accused of having a relationship with a woman of another tribe. She fought back and had — a rarity in Pakistan — her attackers prosecuted. She now is an internationally recognized voice for the rights of Pakistani women, who are often punished for being raped. The country’s lower house has just passed a change in the country’s sick rape laws, a baby step toward civilized norms.

‐ Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for falling on a grenade to save his fellow Marines from the blast. That sort of sacrifice and bravery is typical of U.S. troops in Iraq, but it is too often ignored. The New York Times didn’t mention Dunham’s incredible act, or his medal, even though he was from upstate New York. We should never forget.

© 2006 by King Features Syndicate

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
PC Culture

Merciless Sympathy

Jussie Smollett’s phony hate-crime story could have been taken apart in 24 hours, except for one thing: Nobody wanted to be the first to call bullsh**. Who will bell the cat? Not the police, and I don’t blame them. Smollett is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump who checks two protected-category ... Read More