We are thankful that changing leaders does not require bribery, intimidation, 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 keep the competition free and fair, and (2) we elect problem-solvers rather than warriors.
We are grateful when our political and civil rights are respected regardless of who won the last election.
Losing is OK when our rights are upheld, because each party and candidate can always compete again and again.
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 job losses, property confiscations, 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.…”
Image: A wild turkey. Photographer: Vince Pahkala. Benjamin Franklin admired the turkey as “a bird of courage.”