Publisher’s Corner: I’m Exercising My Right To Be Thankful

As Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t help but think of how much we take our freedom for granted. Like a child who get’s tucked in by his mom or dad at night, we pull up the covers knowing our country will be there when we wake up. Yes, history has provided us with hiccups over the years. Even now leadership is being questioned and anxieties are high. But I predict cooler heads will prevail and order will be restored to the Hundred Acre Wood. We have incredible freedom compared to many other corners of the world. Yes, there are many things worthy of protest in today’s world, but just having the right to peacefully do so is something we should be thankful for. I would never kneel during the National Anthem, but others have the right to do so. If your protest is on company time, your actions might be subject to your employer’s rules, regulations and possible consequences. One Navy Seal recently said on t.v. he went to war so people have the right to protest. That’s what freedom is all about. How and when you choose to exercise your right to peacefully protest may end up causing problems.. And you have to live with the results of exercising your right. I exercised my right to protest in the late 60s and early 70s. It gave me the feeling that my voice mattered, even though the Vietnam War didn’t end as soon as we wanted. We have the right to elect those who represent us. And sometimes our candidate wins and sometimes they lose. We can be thankful that we have free and open elections. And when those elections seem flawed, we have the right to investigate any discrepancies. People don’t like it when their party is not in power. But in some countries there is never a change in leadership without violence. There is tyranny and dictatorship. Even when things appear dark and dismal in America, at least there is a light switch nearby. Our democracy when tested usually comes out with more than a passing grade. There is often friction to freedom. But even friction is a form of energy that motivates people to action. Our freedom of speech and a free press is paramount. That’s why it’s the 1st Amendment. Anyone who threatens that freedom is asking for a silent society and totalitarianism. Countries, societies and people all make mistakes and hopefully learn from those mistakes. Being able to say you were wrong and asking for forgiveness is perhaps the most admirable quality anyone can have. Successes are often built on mountains of mistakes. Trial and error. That is what democracy is and has been all about. It is not perfect but it can be sustainable so long as we remember who we are as a nation and as individuals who exercise our rights while respecting the rights of others. Americans have the right to voice how they feel, in the streets, at a football game and at the ballot box — Peacefully! We are also a nation of laws. And while exercising your right to protest, if the law gets broken, then that action can become a crime and you can be arrested. That too is democracy. I think there is plenty of anger and anxiety right now. But sometimes it helps to put things in perspective. Take a deep breath, think about what you have instead of what you don’t have — if only for a moment. Use that feeling to do something good for someone. There is nothing stronger than a random act of kindness. Tuck in your children and sing them a song or read them a book. Try being thankful for something, anything, it will help balance out the angst in your life. I am exercising my right to be thankful. I hope you can find something to be thankful for, too!

Thankfully, J.B. Lester, Publisher