We offer some extra reasons to be thankful on Thanksgiving Day 2020.
We are thankful that changing leaders does not require bribery, poison, coups, or wars.
We are grateful to live in a country where leaders are chosen by, and are accountable to, the people.
We are grateful that America is made up of so many different people with all of their ideas, aspirations, ideologies, and identities. Our national creativity and productivity are unrivaled when we are willing to engage in a constructive competition of ideas.
We are grateful for the pressure that regular elections can put on our officials to perform better and better. That pressure works best when (1) we are loyal to the competition for the best ideas and solutions rather than a person or a party, and (2) we keep the competition free and fair.
We are grateful that our political and civil rights are guaranteed regardless of who won the last election. When they are upheld, by our government and by each of us, those rights can give everyone confidence that winning isn’t everything – losing is OK because each party or faction can compete to win the next time.
We are thankful for not living under an absolute monarch, a strong-man dictator, a military junta. In those places, only a few cronies get the good things in life, no-one dares to challenge a leader’s bad ideas, and resistance is met with beatings, jailing, and executions.
We are grateful not to be living in a one-party state or a theocracy. The best services, jobs, and business opportunities are reserved for party or church members. Failure to conform is often met with harsh repression up to and including death.
We are thankful for “the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…” (W. Churchill).
Image: A wild turkey. Photographer: Vince Pahkala. Benjamin Franklin admired the turkey as “a bird of courage.”
Our mission: (1) help Americans understand why democracy is precious; and (2) help them understand, protect, and improve the foundations of trust in our republic while also encouraging a healthy vigilance.
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