Op-ed: Eli Yokley: ‘Much to be Thankful for’

Originally posted at PoliticMo.com — (WEBB CITY, Mo.) Happy Thanksgiving, readers. If your family is like most, they have set the table( or are soon to do so) for yet…

(WEBB CITY, Mo.) Happy Thanksgiving, readers. If your family is like most, they have set the table( or are soon to do so) for yet another Thanksgiving dinner.

There is something endearing about American gluttony. That year after year, folks from all over can gather for a really, really large meal together. (The together part is what is most important.) Amidst all of our state and nation’s troubles, whether they be economic insecurities or international tensions, for a day, we take a moment sit down for a meal together. The email can wait to be opened (two on my PoliticMo account today), the phone call go to the voicemail, and with our families, we can gather at the table for one, great oversized meal.

This year, I have much to be thankful for. My family is healthy, my grandparents are still traveling, my parents have great jobs and a great home, and, of course, the food is great and never lacking. I and thousands of my peers have almost made it through yet another semester of school, and are receiving what is supposed to be a world class education. I have adequate health insurance, at least until I am twenty six years old, and some of the roads I use daily are being rebuilt even in the worst economy since the Great Depression. And abroad, a great number of the demographic that should be my peers is fighting for my security in towns in Afghanistan or on the Yellow Sea west of the Korean peninsula.

Amidst all of our achievements, we have a lot of work to do, together as a nation. Looking forward, we hope that the folks that do not have a dinner to attend or a home to host, that they – whether it be as a community of neighbors, or with state or federal aid – can be helped to achieve something to be thankful for. While we are thankful for security at home, we hope for a more stable international security, and call on Senators to make a decision on the future of our relationship with our partner Russia. We are thankful for the sacrifice of our South Korean friends, but hope that tensions can be eased in the region. While we are thankful for politicians finally taking a look at our nation’s looming debt, we hope essential regulations meant to protect consumers and insurance customers are not revoked.

Today, we can not forget about those who are going without as we indulge today.

We are thankful for how far our nation has come, from the day a group of pilgrims landed at Plymouth seeking an environment that allowed them an essential freedom of religion. We are thankful that the freedom was adopted by the patriots that fought for independence, in addition to an incorporated  freedom of speech and press which allows people like us to question what is happening in society and in government.

When President Abraham Lincoln first proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November to be a day of Thanksgiving, the nation was divided, much more than it is today. But the President called on his country to give thanks, anyway. Today, hopefully we were able to do that.

I am thankful for my family and friends, and a stunning girlfriend. I’m thankful for my ability to do this project day after day, and for the folks I have met along the way in the past year or so, and look forward to what comes my way the next time around.

Regardless of politics, we can all agree with Senator-elect Roy Blunt today, who Tweeted, “Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. We have much to be thankful for. God has truly blessed our great country.”

Or we can take the advice of the person who will replace him in Missouri’s seventh district Billy Long, who Tweeted, “Hug your Family Today – Happy Thanksgiving To All.”

Tomorrow, I guess it will be back to division and fighting for a lot of us (PoliticMo is working on a couple stories to look forward to probably Monday.) But for at least a day, we all were able to give thanks.

(Good luck, by the way, to you all who plan on braving the early morning mess tomorrow.)

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