Bill Murchison

In the dim reaches of long ago, Americans observed a quaint custom. They called it Thanksgiving, or something of the sort.

The custom arose on account of their supposing, often against hard evidence -- weather, war, famine, pestilence, etc. -- there were things for which to be thankful and that, accordingly, thanks were to be rendered. Which meant, by common consent, that the designated recipient of the thanks in question was God.

That was of course before the mighty and influential in American society came to understand they themselves were the authors of all major blessings. The custom called Thanksgiving came to involve in high degree the complicated exercise of administering pats to one's own back.

The country that prepares to sit down with itself at table this Thursday -- table having become the centerpiece of the observance -- will likely minimize the back patting. The reality of things is that things aren't particularly exemplary at the moment. Joblessness persists; economic recovery lags; all Congress does is fight; all the president does, when he isn't doing nuclear deals with foreign wackos, is devise reasons why no one should blame him for anything.

All things considered, that might be enough to say about particular politicians right now. The intrusion of politics into all aspects of daily life is among the largest reasons for today's discontents and apprehension. Maybe it is

the biggest reason. Why not? The takeover of life by political plans and political ambitions is marked at all levels of endeavor.

There was a time when citizens judged themselves generally capable of getting along absent the political dream-makers. The dream-makers are too many and too powerful to allow any of us to ignore their presence. They have many plans they want us to execute, such as giving them charge of the provisions we make regarding happiness and health care.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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