On Thursday, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. We have come a long
way since Puritan Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians held a three-day
celebration of peace and friendship at Plymouth Plantation in 1621. For many
of us, Thanksgiving is a time when we get together with family and friends
and give thanks to God for all that is good in our lives.
Unfortunately, far too many Americans now think that Thanksgiving is just a
long weekend for watching football, eating too much turkey and shopping on
the day after. Or worse, they view Thanksgiving as a cynical memorial to the
betrayal of the American Indian.
I’m old school on this one. Thanksgiving is not just a day or a weekend,
it is a state of mind. Thanksgiving is the day that I acknowledge that I
give thanks every day that the Creator chose America as my home.
I didn’t always feel this way about America. After all, when I was born
in San Francisco in 1947, it was darn near illegal to be black. I now teach
at the University of Texas at Austin. However, when I was born, they allowed
no one who looked like me to teach or even attend my university.
Nevertheless, as the ad says, that was then, and this is now.
Tens of millions of Americans of all colors and creeds first fought the
scourge of slavery and then moved on to root out legal segregation. In fact,
the history of America is one of a profound commitment to the very concept
of equality. A commitment that is unmatched by any other civilization ever
known to man.
The abolitionist and civil rights movements were crucial in altering my
perception about what America could be for people who looked like me.
However, nothing had a greater impact on me than when I started working in
other countries. It was only then that I came to appreciate how special
America is … warts and all.
We take so many things for granted in this wonderful country of ours. We
take for granted little things such as our freedom to openly proclaim our
belief in God, to criticize the government, to live wherever we can afford
to live, to improve our lives and the lives of our family, and to be free
from official corruption and abuse.
Instead, we focus on all of our challenges and problems. Surprisingly
enough, our terminal need to keep improving things is one of America’s
secrets. The people of this country, I am happy to say, will never be
satisfied with the status quo. Because of that, America will continue to
Let me be clear. America is not perfect. Some of our politicians and
citizens defile everything that is special about this country. Far too
often, we forget that God put each of us here on purpose. We forget that
none of us was an “accident.” We become callous and insensitive.
Nevertheless, the good news is that America is a perpetual work in
process. Her heart and soul can be found in one of the most extraordinary
documents ever written by men — The Declaration of Independence.
We don’t typically think of the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving in the
same breath, but we should. Because our Declaration of Independence is the
secular bedrock of all that gives us hope and sustenance.
That is why today I make this public declaration of thanks to God for
bringing me to life as an American.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Until they wrote these words in 1776, no country had ever been founded on
such radical ideas. Think of it, that God is the most powerful. That God,
not a king, gives all rights and power to every one of us. That God
guarantees all of us equality, unalienable rights and liberty. Those words
were a brilliant laser that cut through the darkness of tyranny.
These are more than just words from our Declaration of Independence. They
embody what America really is. They color everything that we do, every
thought that we think.
Millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, flood our shores because they
know that these words are real. They know that you and I will fight as our
ancestors fought, to keep this dream alive for everyone. They know that
America is a shining beacon of hope in a dark sea of misery. They know this
much better than most Americans, because they don’t live here.
Oh my friends, you cannot understand the power of the words “we hold
these truths to be self evident …” until you go to a county where the
government holds itself above God and the people. You cannot understand your
good fortune to be an American on this Thanksgiving week until you travel to
a country where the “State” controls everything. Be thankful that you are in
this wonderful country, warts, blemishes, and all. Be very thankful.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Do you know how powerful these words are? Every one of us believes them.
We may hate the fact that the “the government” or our political opponents
are violating our rights. However, we know in our soul that they are our
rights, and those rights are inalienable.
No other country has such a loud reaffirmation of the fact that all power
comes from the people. No other country has a people who truly believe that
they own the government. No other country has the type of freedom that we
take for granted in America.
Every commentary that you read in WorldNetDaily reflects our absolute
knowledge that governments exist only so long as we believe that they are
just. We may get terribly angry at elected officials, but we know in our
hearts that if necessary, we, the people, have the absolute right to replace
each politician with people of our choice. In fact, we don’t just believe
this, the Declaration shouts this out in no uncertain terms.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these
ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to
institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and
organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to
effect their Safety and Happiness.
This type of talk would get you arrested in most parts of the world. I
have been in countries where if I said, “the president’s shoes are dusty,”
the secret police would have taken me to prison and tortured me. I kid you
In America, these are not just words of a declaration. They are our
compact with our government. These words are the bedrock of everything
that is America. These powerful words fuel our passion for freedom from
government oppression. These words fuel the investigation into Waco, the
IRS, the China scandals and all of the other governmental abuses of our day.
If these words weren’t so real to all of us, I hazard to think what America
would quickly become.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established
should not be
changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath
shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable,
than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are
In every part of the world, our system of government, our economic
miracle, our way of life is a beacon to those who yearn for freedom. They
know that these words are real; America is the result of their utterance. So
they risk life, limb, and wealth to come to our shores, legally or not, to
taste the fruits of a country that is unlike anything the world has ever
seen. Oh, be thankful that you are an American, my friends, be very
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably
the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it
is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to
provide new Guards for their future security.
Listen to the words — “new Guards for their future security.” Isn’t that
a powerful thought? Other countries have political revolutions or military
coups. But all they do is switch one set of power hunger leaders for
How many countries, founded in revolution, have grown like America? How
many “revolutionary” leaders have immediately submitted to the power of the
people? How many countries take their founding documents as seriously as we
In fact, no other country has a document like our Declaration. Oh, some
of them have “constitutions” filled with wonderful words, but those words
are not part of the mother’s milk of their people. Those words are not part
of the living fiber of the lives of their citizens.
They are just words.
No other country has people who believe in the very fiber of their beings
that these words are as real today as they were in 1776. No other country
has as much to be thankful for than America.
So on this, the last Thanksgiving week of the 20th century, be thankful —
be very thankful that God blessed you by putting you in this great country
… warts, politicians, and all.
Because the best is yet to come.