The inevitable talk of politics -- this is Washington, after all -- differs from last year. Republicans no longer have to listen to Bush-bashing. The man from Prairie Chapel promoted his memoir, "Decision Points," with panache, grace and good humor, steadfast in his refusal to criticize his predecessor, no doubt made easier since so many others are doing it for him. He can see how tacky Jimmy Carter looks, parading his second-guesses and trying desperately to make his failed presidency look at least presentable for the historians. "Decision Points" is not Ulysses S. Grant's remarkable "Personal Memoir," but it resets W., like him or not, as a thoughtful guy.
Sarah Palin, the doll who Democrats continue to stick pins in, holiday or not, is fair game, but it might be more productive to initiate a discussion over the way politics and the pop culture have fused to our society's disadvantage. She is merely the most prominent icon for the problem. For all its kitsch charm, reality television can never be confused with reality. It's fun to watch Palin climb a small peak in Denali National Park in Alaska, but we shouldn't imagine that she's Teddy Roosevelt. "Rock climber or rock star?" She's right to ask. (So are we.)
Thanksgiving is our most traditional of holidays, still relatively unscarred by commercial marketing, even as we update it with contemporary fads and fashions, Googling what we don't understand or remember. Nostalgia nurtures the older folks as so much of the familiar disappears into microchips for safekeeping. Youngsters thrive on the latest gadgets with ingenuity and inventiveness, showing smarts and saving face with spell-checks and Wikipedia (we can only hope they learn to sort the wheat from the chaff).
The most traditional of holidays has come a long way since our Puritan ancestors stepped on Plymouth Rock to breathe the air of religious freedom, to brave the hazards of the New World. We are grateful to them and marvel at their courage (though they never had to confront a pat-down). No matter how life changes, and change it does, we continue to gather together to count our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving.
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