Many things to give thanks for this year

It is sometimes hard to find things to be thankful for as we approach the end of a difficult year, however, it is especially important at these troubling times that we take time to be thankful.

First, of all it is important to be thankful for friends; friends who will drive hundreds of miles through snow and ice to share an anniversary; liberal friends who have held me dear over the years despite my radical right wing political leanings; and friends who stay in touch even when I haven’t been as attentive to them as I should.

Second, I’m thankful for family. I’m thankful that my mom is recovering from her concussion. I’m thankful for the enjoyment of watching our grandson’s first steps; thankful for our granddaughter’s first days in school and her enthusiasm when grandpa reads her the same story for the 27th time. I’m thankful for a patient and caring spouse who truly is my better half. And I’m thankful that my sons are still employed in these difficult economic times.

Third, I’m thankful that I live in a country where we can vote. I’m thankful that we can correct our mistakes in the next election. And, I’m thankful that the American people still understand the history that has made our country great even when our elected leaders have lost their way. Our system is not perfect, but it is better than any other that has been devised.

Finally, I’m thankful for my critics, even the ones who call me “brainless, mean, insensitive, stupid, uncaring, heartless,” or worse. They make me think about my positions. They make me check and recheck my facts. Sometimes I wish they would check their facts, but in a world full of propaganda and hype, I understand the difficulty of cutting through the emotional blather to find the truth.

Yes, as I look back on this troubling year I can say it has been the most challenging of my life. But I look forward to the year ahead with new hope and enthusiasm. I am encouraged that the bulk of the American people have made it clear that we do not want to retry the failed experiment that is European Socialism.

We were not able to dump Patty Murray or reform the system of Worker’s Compensation Insurance, but we beat back expansion of our taxes by state representatives. Our elected representatives now have a difficult job ahead as they endeavor to balance the state budget by cutting expenses instead of raiding our already impoverished wallets.

For their part Republicans may have made big advances in their political power across the country, but they better remember that their power can be lost as quickly as it was gained if they ignore the will of the voters. And they can no longer put up the same tired ballot of party hacks like Dino Rossi, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney. They need new, fresh faces with energy and enthusiasm. Candidates that are willing to confront difficult issues head on and treat voters like adults.

Democrats must examine their failed policies. Policies that engender class warfare and promote failed economic systems that are not progressive. Democrats must learn to listen to the voters and not just their union puppet masters.

And finally, we as voters must continue to take a proactive approach to taking back our government.

Yes, I am thankful that we live in the greatest country in the world, a country where peaceful revolution is only one election away.