On Being Thankful On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  We are reminded of the importance of being thankful for the many blessings we have in life.  The most important blessings are the simplest and most basic:  family, and extended family; friends; the large traditional meal; the opportunity to support a family through hard work; a government that doesn't intentionally starve and imprison dissenters.

Have you noticed that the liberals and progressives have lost the ability to give thanks for these things?  Their world view seems to be a combination of guilt and self-loathing on the one hand, with hatred of those who disagree with them on the other.  Somehow these things so overwhelm the consciousness that thankfulness for the simple things, or for anything, just can't break through.  Can any reader find a single example of a progressive pundit this Thanksgiving giving unqualified thanks for the basic and simple things without then turning to the usual guilt, self-loathing, and hatred, let alone the self-flagellation over "white privilege," over "racism," over "sexism," over "homophobia," and on and on?

Let's take a little survey of the New York Times op ed columnists.  Most of them have chosen not to address the subject of Thanksgiving at all.  The ones who have border, as usual, on self-parody. The Krugman article is headlined "On Feeling Thankful But Fearful."  So, what are you thankful for, Paul?

I’m thankful to have had the privileges that went with being a white male, growing up and building a career during an era — perhaps temporary — in which open anti-Semitism had become socially unacceptable. To my shame, until recently I didn’t fully appreciate just how big those privileges were (and at a deep level I probably still don’t). I knew that racism and sexism were real and continuing, but was oblivious to just how vicious they were (and are). 

See what I mean?  And Paul, do you have any other qualifications you want to add to your "thanks"?

[E]very one of those good things is now very much under assault. . . .  White supremacists are, of course, making a big comeback thanks to encouragement from the top. . . .  So are anti-Semites, which is really no surprise to those who remember their history.  Even as old prejudices return, we’ve clearly entered a new age of politically potent anti-intellectualism. . . .  

Meanwhile, the even more strident Charles Blow has a column headlined "Thankfully Recommitting To Resistance" -- but, after the headline, I can't find the word "thanks" in the column at all.  It is an angry screed directed at the President, and unwilling to concede that he has done even one thing worthy of the slightest gratitude.  Sample:

Donald Trump, I thought that your presidency would be a disaster. It’s worse than a disaster. I wasn’t sure that resistance to your weakening of the republic, your coarsening of the culture, your assault on truth and honesty, your erosion of our protocols, would feel as urgent today as it felt last year. But if anything, that resistance now feels more urgent.  Nothing about you has changed for the better. You are still a sexist, bigoted, bullying, self-important simpleton.

If Blow has anything to be thankful for, you will not find it in this column.  So, does even one of the Times's columnists offer any genuine thanks for anything?  The closest is Bret Stephens -- but then, he is the house conservative.

If you want to find an example of someone actually counting his blessings, you're just going to have to go over to the right side of the political spectrum.  Among many examples, one of the best is the article from Deroy Murdock at National Review.  National Review has been known as among the "never Trumpers."  But this article gives credit where credit is due, even to someone the magazine has strongly opposed on many issues.  The headline is "This Thanksgiving, Thank Donald J. Trump."  There is a list of some 36 positive accomplishments of the Trump administration, on subjects ranging from the economy to foreign policy to civil rights to immigration.  Many of these things you would think the progressives would agree with.  For example, on the economy:

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 all hit record highs on Tuesday. The Wilshire 5000 Index calculates that some $3.4 trillion in new wealth has been created since President Trump’s inauguration and $5.4 trillion since his election. Fueled by the reality of deregulation, expectations of lower taxes, and a new tone in Washington that applauds free enterprise rather than excoriate it, the economy is on fire.
  • Atop the second quarter’s 3.1 percent increase in real GDP, and 3.0 in 3Q, the New York Federal Reserve Bank predicts that 4Q output will expand by 3.8 percent. This far outpaces the feeble average-annual GDP growth rate of 1.5 percent on President Obama’s watch. Meanwhile, the IMF expects global GDP to rise by 3.5 percent this year. So much for a Trump-inspired “global recession.”

In the past I have expressed skepticism about crediting (or blaming) a President for economic performance of the economy starting on the day of his election or inauguration, since economic policy generally operates with a lag.  On the other hand, I think it is entirely reasonable to expect an economy to react more or less immediately to promises of deregulation and of tax cuts.  

In case you are not aware of it, note that Murdock points to a forecast put out by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, known as its "Nowcast."  This indicator tracks economic statistics day by day to give an early read as to how the economy is doing in the current quarter.  As of November 24 the New York Fed "Nowcast" for 4th Quarter GDP is at 3.7% increase (a 0.1% decline from a few days ago when Murdock wrote his article).  When combined with the 3.1% GDP increase in the 2nd Quarter, and 3.0% in the 3rd, there is no doubt that economic performance has dramatically improved on Trump's watch.  But then, Obama waged what I called (in August 2015) the "War On The Economy":

[T]hat war has many fronts, including: massive wasteful spending and debt accumulation; artificially suppressing cheap and reliable energy in favor of subsidizing expensive and unreliable energy; overregulation and endless phony prosecutions directed against anyone who dares to make too much money in a financial business; forcing people to overpay for wasteful health insurance (Obamacare); big tax increases; and more. . . .  I truly believe that Obama and his minions have no idea that there is any relationship between intentional suppression of economic activity by the government on the one hand and sluggish economic performance by the economy on the other. 

Murdock contrasts the economy's performance since Trump took office to Krugman's prediction on November 9, 2016 (the day after the election):

Now comes the mother of all adverse effects — and what it brings with it is a regime that will be ignorant of economic policy and hostile to any effort to make it work," Krugman wrote. "So we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.

For two other examples, both from the right, of things that deserve your unqualified thanks, consider this article from Kurt Schlichter at Townhall, and this one from Marc Thiessen at the Washington Post.  Both lead with the same item:  Be thankful that Hillary Clinton was not elected President.

UPDATE, November 25:  You might have thought this was not possible, but my friends at Maggie's Farm have found someone who hates Thanksgiving even more than Krugman and Blow.  It's a guy named David Zirin, writing in The Nation on November 17.  Zirin works himself up into a purple rage over the fact that the NFL's Thanksgiving day game was being hosted in Washington by the Redskins.  Or, in The Nation, the "R*dskins."  They change the spelling because, in their world, the word "Redskins" is a "racial slur."  Excerpt:

Whether it’s a question of tin-eared insensitivity, or their own sick, private joke, Washington will be hosting the Thanksgiving game for the first time in league history. . . .  The NFL . . . of course has a team named after a Native American racial slur in the nation’s capital. That’s not news. What is news is that on Thanksgiving, for the first time in league history, this team in Washington will be playing host. That means as we finish our food . . .  and gather around the television to watch NFL football, a tradition only slightly less ubiquitous than pumpkin pie, the R*dskins slur— a name that exists only because of genocide and displacement—will have center stage. 

Bird Dog's comment is, "Oh for crying out loud."  Amen.

[For some reason, Squarespace is refusing to embed the link for The Nation article.  Here it is:  https://www.thenation.com/article/by-having-the-washington-rdskins-host-a-game-on-thanksgiving-nfl-owners-show-their-true-colors/.]