Kathryn Lopez
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It's that time of year, when we give thanks for things we too often take for granted. We should really be grateful all year long. But at least there's November. If you're conservative like me, there are easy reasons to be ungrateful this month -- but, fact is, we live in a great country and the blessings are abundant.

I'm grateful for Nonie Darwish. She's written a book called "Now They Call Me Infidel" (Sentinel, 2006). She says that "Radical Islam has declared war on America and on the West, and the majority of Muslims either support or make excuses for terrorism." She adds, "Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists, but the fear, defensiveness and silence of the majority is 'heard' loud and clear as agreement by the radicals." Egyptian-born, she lives in America now and has become a Christian. But her witness may serve to help moderate Muslims look within and the rest of us to know what we face.

I'm grateful for Mark Steyn. He's written a book "America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It" (Regnery, 2006). He's, in part, Nonie Darwish's welcoming committee. In order to win this war we're in, we have to help reform Islam. We have to do things like support real women's rights in the Muslim world, "End the Iranian regime," and make sure we're not funding mosques, think tanks, and other outfits that teach jihad. Tough stuff, but real life.

I'm grateful, too, for people who don't write books. I've run out of shelves and my piles are capsizing.

I'm grateful for politicians who do what's right because it's the right thing. Some will forever ridicule me for insisting Pennsylvania voters wake up to the clear-thinker who was their senator, Rick Santorum, now on his way out of office. But the rest of us should be encouraging such a thing.

I'm grateful for people willing to serve, despite the sacrifice to their families. A slate of former judicial nominees -- Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Bill Pryor, Miguel Estrada, come to mind.

I'm grateful that it's only 2006. And despite everything happening behind the scenes, the fact of the matter is there is time for someone good to make a case to the American people that he is a leader.

And I'm glad we have pols who say things like this: "Americans are looking for more fiscal responsibility, less government and sound traditional values. They want leadership and vision with conservative principles. You don't develop a vision by looking backwards. I'm keeping my eyes on the horizon -- where the future is, and where America is going." In other words, I'm grateful for outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. We'll see where he goes next. A white house on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. will have a vacancy in January 2009. I'm grateful for Rush Limbaugh. How many household names use their power for good? They'll give him grief for supposedly picking on a sick guy, but that's not what he did. The man speaks truth when it's unpopular. And he's made a great success of it -- and those who agree with him on myriad issues owe him a debt.

I'm grateful for clever groups like Hands Off Our Ovaries (for a moratorium on cloning) and Feminists for Life (anti-abortion). They're organizations that make you do a double take and really think about the life issues in a new and provocative way that. They're great contributions to preserving/fighting for a Culture of Life. I'm grateful for Adam Sandler. Someone in Hollywood is still married. I'm grateful to teachers. My Dad was one. My mother and sister are. The children are our future -- it's true. And there are devoted people who love kids who spend their days teaching and nights preparing and caring. Thank God. I'm grateful for my pals at Walden Media -- who did "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and the upcoming "Charlotte's Web" -- who make movies never failing to emphasize the books behind them. They make the teachers' jobs easier. I'm grateful for Catholic education. I'm grateful because it's worked wonders in urban areas. But I'm also grateful for administrators, teachers, students, parents, alumni, who fight to keep them Catholic. When you have a higher reason for being there, identity is everything, it all stems from there. And that makes all the difference.

I'm deeply grateful for the United States military. Whatever the heck the Democrats wind up doing to them and us and the Iraqi people, it won't change the great good our voluntary servicemen have done there, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Faith. You gotta have it.

The list could go on and on. We truly are blessed. Even if Nancy Pelosi is Speaker.

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Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.