This is not the happiest Thanksgiving holiday. So many out of work, so many others afraid they're next, and the recession is not receding as swiftly as we were told it would.
Yet all these worries pale against the collective remembrance of the fearful hardships endured by the first immigrants to these shores. They spread the first feast of gratitude in the New World. They laid the foundation for the generations who followed to enjoy life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness (and turkey).
We give thanks for their gifts to us -- the right to worship freely and speak our minds as we choose, and for the way of life we cherish. But this season something seems to have gone awry. We're looking through the wrong end of the telescope. We've bailed out Wall Street, Detroit and other giants and masters of the economic universe, but the 10 percent who can't find work don't know how they'll pay the rent, the grocer or the doctor.
The Democrats in Congress are determined to stifle competition in the health care delivery system, increasing the deficit and burdening the next generation (and the generations after that) with crushing debt. Confiscatory taxes to pay for it are inevitable. We lament the stimulus that neither saved nor created jobs, unless you count the phantom jobs created in nonexistent congressional districts.
The American Spectator magazine honored the memory of Robert Bartley, the longtime editor of The Wall Street Journal, the other night in Washington, and the buzz among the A-list conservatives was not about personalities, but about how to retrieve conservative economic values. Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, a Republican to watch in 2012, tickled the crowd with a new kicker for Ronald Reagan's famous description of hard times: "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. A recovery is when Nancy Pelosi loses hers."
He told how, after he voted against the big bailout, he spoke at a Boy Scouts jamboree. A man listening at the edge of the crowd came up when the crowd thinned to tell him that he had just lost his job. But he wasn't there to complain, but to thank the congressman for voting against the bailout, "for doing what's right. I'm not afraid for myself, I'm afraid for my country."