Kathryn Lopez

It was exactly one week until Thanksgiving as I watched the attorney general of the United States, Michael Mukasey, collapse a few feet away from me. He was nearing the end of a speech to the Federalist Society in Washington, D.C. The former New York judge was giving an impassioned defense of the Bush administration's efforts to rein in an activist judiciary (despite congressional pushback), its leadership in fighting the war on terror and the bold steps it has taken to keep Americans safe at home. He talked about his hopes that the Obama administration will take its responsibilities seriously, retaining some of the legal structures of its predecessor, contrary to what some of "the intemperate rhetoric would seem to suggest."

As it happens, during that same gracious and important speech, he was heckled and called a "tyrant" by one of the dinner guests.

I'm grateful to know that Mukasey is not a tyrant. He's a good man and a dedicated public servant. I'm grateful to know that he's been part of an imperfect but honorable administration. I'm grateful to know that he serves a president who loves his country and the military families who sacrifice for all the rest of us. I'm grateful to know the man who ran up to catch Mukasey as he was slurring, on the verge of collapse. I'm grateful to have seen so many people around me bow their heads in prayer, unprompted by any clergyman, for the health and soul of the attorney general.

It was the top of the month when the majority of voters in California approved a proposition that would protect the traditional definition of marriage in the state, in the face of renegade courts' past struggles to redefine this fundament of society. I'm grateful that even voters who most likely helped elect Barack Obama president can see the value in sacred, age-old ceremonies. I'm grateful that there are people like my friend Maggie Gallagher, who heads the National Organization for Marriage, and fights the good fight for the traditional idea of family, despite viciously unfair enemies and defeatist colleagues.

I'm grateful to live in a country where, although there are people who may run to TV news cameras bearing hateful, anti-Mormon signs and call in threats to Mormon temples because many of the Latter-Day faithful supported the proposition, there are also those who will fight for religious liberty, like the folks at the Becket Fund. There are politicians who will speak in its defense, like Mitt Romney. He may get attacked unfairly, in some cases because he is Mormon, but he has a genuine moral core and ethical calling that sets him above petty criticism.


Kathryn Lopez

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