I have always loved Thanksgiving. It is my favorite national holiday. It reminds Americans how fortunate we are to be Americans. And it unites Americans around gratitude, the greatest human trait. Gratitude is the mother of both goodness and happiness. The ungrateful cannot be either happy or good.
So, it is with a heavy heart that I write that my mood on this Thanksgiving will not be the same as on any other I have ever experienced.
My gratitude will be marred by a dark cloud.
Not the cloud of economic crisis; Americans have lived through worse economic crises.
Not the cloud of war. America is at war in Afghanistan, and troops remain in Iraq in the war against Islamic terror; but Americans have fought far more bloody wars.
Not the cloud of politics; whatever an American's political persuasion, every American has lived through political battles and political losses.
No, this is a new cloud. This is the cloud of "transformation." This is what candidate Barack Obama promised; this is what President Barack Obama seeks to achieve -- nothing less than the transformation of America.
But those of us who love America and its unique value system don't want either America or its value system transformed. The former can always be improved, but should never be transformed. And the latter should always remain what it has been for centuries: the American Trinity -- E Pluribus Unum, In God We Trust and Liberty -- as well as limited government and individualism. It also includes an abiding belief in American exceptionalism, meaning that America has usually known better what is good for the world than any world body, that America's moral compass is generally more accurate than that of other nations, let alone the United Nations. This is not because Americans are born better or any such nonsense, but because American values have produced a particularly uncynical, idealistic nation, more willing to die for others than any nation in recorded history.
Every element of this is being transformed, perhaps permanently. The American economy and/or its health system may be fatally damaged if either the House or Senate health care bill is passed. America will descend under a mountain of debt that may permanently undermine the power of the dollar. If this happens, America will no longer be the preeminent economic power of the world. The terrible political and human consequences of this will be felt around the globe.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”