Many of us consistently ponder and wrack our brains to put in perspective what every Thanksgiving mean to us and our fellow man. While we usually and traditionally are thankful for family, friends, and our soldiers who fight to defend our freedoms home and abroad, I'm reminded of my fears and concern as a boy growing up in rural South Carolina. Many of you may remember the drills that we endured in preparation for a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. We were absolutely convinced that America or the Kremlin would obliterate the world with their nuclear arsenals within our lifetime.
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the Soviet Union. I know this sounds strange and dated, but bear with me. I’m thankful for Soviet Union because without it, I would not have grown up appreciating this great country as much as I do. When I’ve talked to our younger generation, from children to college students, over the past 10 years, I heard very little pride for being an American.
Growing up, the USSR was the Big Bad Enemy that was out to destroy America and Western Civilization. Because of this ominous and ever-present threat, we as Americans had to remain steadfast to the principles that made America great- Freedom, Truth, Hard Work, and Justice.
The fall of the Soviet Empire not only created a vacuum, but began to subtly provoke the questioning of whether America really was the “Good Guy”. It was easy when we knew who the bad guys were and could consider ourselves the underdog, in a way. We were now the biggest game in town, and as such, we became the target, culpable for every ill in this world. Africa is poor? America’s fault. Amazon rain forest being razed? America did it. AIDS? Secret American bio weapon. On and on. It did not take long for those within our borders to take up the refrain. It became to be seen as naive and puerile to be proud of and love America. Everything that had been great about America became an anathema. It also led us to slowly giving into the tyrannical and socialism policies of our former enemy – torture, foreign wars based on meager evidence, government handouts and bailouts, and world apology tours for the evils of our distant (and not so distant past).