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Thankful for a Bygone Era and New Dawn

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Many of us consistently ponder and wrack our brains to put in perspective what every Thanksgiving mean to us and our fellow man. While we usually and traditionally are thankful for family, friends, and our soldiers who fight to defend our freedoms home and abroad, I'm reminded of my fears and concern as a boy growing up in rural South Carolina. Many of you may remember the drills that we endured in preparation for a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. We were absolutely convinced that America or the Kremlin would obliterate the world with their nuclear arsenals within our lifetime.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the Soviet Union. I know this sounds strange and dated, but bear with me. I’m thankful for Soviet Union because without it, I would not have grown up appreciating this great country as much as I do. When I’ve talked to our younger generation, from children to college students, over the past 10 years, I heard very little pride for being an American.

Growing up, the USSR was the Big Bad Enemy that was out to destroy America and Western Civilization. Because of this ominous and ever-present threat, we as Americans had to remain steadfast to the principles that made America great- Freedom, Truth, Hard Work, and Justice.

The fall of the Soviet Empire not only created a vacuum, but began to subtly provoke the questioning of whether America really was the “Good Guy”. It was easy when we knew who the bad guys were and could consider ourselves the underdog, in a way. We were now the biggest game in town, and as such, we became the target, culpable for every ill in this world. Africa is poor? America’s fault. Amazon rain forest being razed? America did it. AIDS? Secret American bio weapon. On and on. It did not take long for those within our borders to take up the refrain. It became to be seen as naive and puerile to be proud of and love America. Everything that had been great about America became an anathema. It also led us to slowly giving into the tyrannical and socialism policies of our former enemy – torture, foreign wars based on meager evidence, government handouts and bailouts, and world apology tours for the evils of our distant (and not so distant past).

Without our great antagonist, we began to fall asleep- allowing sloth, moral decay, and entitlement mentality to take over our way of life. Rather than act as the bulwark against this putrefaction, our government (both Republicans and Democrats) largely went along with it and even encouraged such behavior. Aside from the Watergate scandal, we have largely trusted our politicians over the past half century. In turn, the politicians took advantage of our trust to run roughshod over "We the People". Instead of trying to spur private sector growth through encouragement, they began paying off the electorate. Maybe it's just the greater access that the Internet and modern media have given us, but it seems to me that we have had more scandals from public officials over the past 20 years than we had from 1900-1990. When we can't look to our leaders for positive examples, to whom can we look? Well, we answered that question by looking to ourselves.

This past year, America finally started to wake up to the problems that have crept in over the past 20 or so years. The Tea Party, for all its warts, served as a shot across the bow to all politicians that under no political party, would we allow this great country to slip quietly into the wayside of history. I honestly thought the liberal ideas that President Barack Obama and the far left had been espousing were where we were headed, especially in regards to health care and their attempts to cosign America to “once great nation” status. I thought we had resigned ourselves to corrupt politician who gave lip service, at best, to our ideals. But the American people restored my faith in this country by remembering the lessons we held so dear when the Red Menace loomed. Today, I am thankful to see our countrymen awakening and charging full speed ahead to a new dawn and recommitting ourselves to the principle ideals of the nation. Freedom! Liberty! Justice!

Thank God I’m an American!

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