The Nation's Pulse

Giving Thanks

The Abraham Lincoln you won't hear invoked as the first Barack Obama.

By 11.26.08

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We arrive once again at the time of year when our ancestors gave thanks to God for the innumerable blessings he has bestowed on our beloved country. But as time goes on, the thanks, if any, goes more and more to humans and worse yet, to a government that promises to care for its citizens from cradle to grave.

The new leader of that government will be Barack Obama, and given the frequency with which our president-elect is compared to Abraham Lincoln -- father of the GOP -- I thought it might be a good time to recall the words of President Lincoln and see how many, if any, of his sentiments in his proclamation of the Thanksgiving national holiday still ring true today.

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. This simple and beautiful notion would, of course, today be labeled as just so much sentimental hooey by modern alarmists. Our fruitful fields are maintained by downtrodden, exploited, migrant workers and, infested as they are by noxious fumes like human breath, our skies will one day bring death and destruction via global warming.

[T]hese bounties are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come. Truer words were never spoken in this age of relativism. Pagan worship of the Earth goddess Gaia aside, there has never been a time in our history when Americans have been more insensible to the role of God in our lives; given the constant drumbeat of those who distort the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom. Not only, we are told, is there a wall between church and state, but today, there must also be one between church and public life.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship:
Not according to our friends on the left. To hear them tell it, the War in Iraq not only has nothing to do with our national defense, but does a day go by in liberal-land when we are not told that the War costs $175 million or more per day? Or that the poor are suffering as a consequence? Such concern with "wasteful" spending would be heartening if this phenomenon didn't occur only during Republican administrations. Sadly, the cost of our national defense is always too high for liberals.

[T]he mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.
Poor Mr. Lincoln would be howled off of his lectern had he dared utter these words today, especially in a spirit of thanksgiving. The backwoods boob would quickly be informed that coal mining produces "significant emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, which are greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change. Coal burning and mining also cause several other kinds of air and water pollution, creating serious health and environmental risks."

Population has steadily increased…and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with a large increase of freedom.
The last few years have witnessed a baby boomlet which in 2006 saw the most births in any year since 1961. This should be a cause of thanksgiving, as propounded by Lincoln, right? Wrong. As evidenced by the vitriol directed At Sarah Palin for giving birth to a special needs child, having more babies is an anathema to "progressive" Americans. The AP explains the tragedy of the boomlet: "Experts believe there is a mix of reasons: a decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty."

As for a large increase in freedom, it is those on the right who would get down on their knees in thanks every hour if any encroachment was made on the expansion of the nanny state. As for those on the left, one wonders what the Obama-as-Lincoln crowd would have thought about Honest Abe's suspension of habeas corpus rights during the Civil War.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God: Now this would be news to many Americans who voted for Barack Obama.

And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience…fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.
It is difficult for people to do penance when they do not detect any national perversity in our culture and it's even harder for them to peer back into our history to understand that this nation was founded on principles consistent with the Divine purposes.

I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States…to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
Now we do set apart and observe the last Thursday of November; mostly as a starting point toward the other holiday that has been stripped of its religious significance. But for many of us, Thanksgiving Day is and always will be a chance for our nation to thank God for the many blessings he has granted us; and specifically, that he made us Americans.

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About the Author

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).