Appreciating and giving thanks for Thanksgiving…

The freeway was crowded with cars last night what with everyone going here and there to be with family. Well if everyone goes somewhere, who stays home?

I’m in a good mood, even though I also have the sadness that this will be the first Thanksgiving in more than 40 years I will not spend with my wife, she having passed away this past summer. I’m in a good mood because I will be with family and family is what I need right now.

It is heartening to me to see that people are so eager to be with family. Maybe we all haven’t quit the family thing after all in this increasingly impersonal world.

Of course I know the holidays can be a tricky time too when it comes to family get togethers. Sometimes old rivalries and jealousies, aided and abetted at times by alcohol, come out.

But let’s hope that is not the case for you reading this, and my advice is that if you see it coming — back off, nothing is to be gained.

I’ve been so busy driving the long haul that I am not fully up on the latest nonsense from Sarah Palin, but from listening to John Rothman on KGO last night I understand she has criticized JFK for a statement or speech he made about separation of church and state.

You’ll recall that his campaign for the presidency was threatened by charges that he being a Catholic would mean he would be taking cues from the Pope. He answered that although he was indeed a devout Catholic, he understood the need for separation of church and state in a nation where our constitution guarantees religious freedom.

There’s a lot of irony here. We know from our earliest school days, dressing up like pilgrims, that those funny-clad folks came over here for religious freedom. But strangely they would not have been too tolerant of anyone who did not believe like they did.

But here’s the deal as far as I can see it — and like so much else, I have blogged this before:

You cannot have religious freedom (which to me includes the right not to be religious) if the government in any way favors or otherwise recognizes one religion over the other.

On the other hand, we (the U.S.) are by our history nominally (maybe not the right word) a Christian nation. And we do have In God We Trust written on our money (although that does not specify the Christian God, but we know that is what it means). But we have also agreed to allow all to worship or not worship as they please.

I’m not going to go on with all of this now, since I need to prepare for visiting with family and chowing down on Thanksgiving dinner.

But I will say I am thankful for family and the bounty God (or whatever supreme power) has bestowed upon me. And I recognize that not all are so fortunate.

And what do I do for the less fortunate? Not a lot. I do not feel that I have the money to spare for charity directly, but I do pay taxes, and I do not begrudge any of that money going for those in true need.

And I am trying to get out of this blog and not digress into further subjects or variations of the same subject. But I wish there were some way to create a public assistance program that targeted individuals and families in true need due to circumstances beyond their control, such as unemployment and health problems. But a lot of our social service funding is wasted (and I mean a lot) on people who make a career out of gaming the system. Yes it works that way at both ends of the ladder. People at the bottom game the welfare system and people at the top game the federal tax structure and the financial system.

Honest people carry the burden. But they also have a clean conscience and will not have so much explaining to do when they meet God (or the supreme power).

And that is my sermon for the day.

Enjoy! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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