Thanks to You, Gentle Reader

As The Courtier is in the country with his family for Thanksgiving, where fortunately internet connections are still somewhat slow and spotty, please consider this his vote of thanks and appreciation for your readership.  Today Americans pause to reflect on the great bounty that God has given in this magnificently beautiful land, a place where despite the best efforts of ignorance and darkness, common-sense principles still matter, and continue to hold influence over how the nation acts.  Many will say, nevertheless, that despite whatever America says about itself, that ours is a flawed nation – and so it is, because like any venture run by human beings, we do not always get it right.  And yet we do, so often, get it right, that it must be said, however bombastically it may come off, that ours is the greatest nation in the history of the world.

We are not great because we have built impressive monuments and feats of engineering, or created unbelievable masses of wealth and works of art, or invented all sorts of technologies that have changed the world and made it better.  We have done all of these things, built on the hard work of individuals and not on the forced labor of monarchs or cults of personality. And this latter part is the key to it all, for this is a country where, among other things, one can choose where and how one wants to live; the way to earn one’s bread; and when and where and how to speak one’s mind without fear of reprisal.  It is a place where one cannot be forced to bow and scrape to any individual, class, or committee, where decency, fairness, a fair shake, and the Golden Rule still matter.

We are great because this is the one country in the history of mankind which has helped the greatest amount of people around the globe to improve their fates and to achieve a say over their own lives, often in the face of totalitarianism and absolutism, thanks to our continued belief and avocation of certain virtues.  And no matter how great or powerful this country may be, the first among these virtues is one practiced by the first colonists of this land on this day, and enshrined in proclamations and laws enacted and followed by our democratically elected representatives for centuries, from the first colonial governors, to George Washington, to today, with a particular nod to the influence of Abraham Lincoln on cementing the permanency of this day’s celebration.  We all pause and acknowledge, with grateful, national humility, what we have been given, undeservedly, through Divine Providence, in having the chance to live and make our way freely in a land as beautiful as this one.

So as The Courtier and his family gather together to say thank you, one thing which he is particularly thankful for are the readers of these pages, who often provide so much to think about, learning more about the world in which we all live and trying to make a small corner of it a little bit better, with the limited abilities one has by which to do so.  May you receive many blessings and good things, gentle reader, this day and always, for you and for those whom you love.  And may God continue to bless these United States of America.

“The First Thanksgiving” by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914)
Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts

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