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Giving Thanks Where Thanks Is Due!

By       Message Eugene Elander     Permalink
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My wife and I make it a point to watch Fox News briefly most days, preferably before lunch so we can hold our food down. The reason we do so is that all of us progressives need to know just what our opponents are doing, saying, and even thinking. Lately, as always, Fox has parroted its usual litany of criticisms of President Barack Obama and his administration, while praising the ghost-written ravings of Sarah Palin, many of which are directed against her own former campaign's staffers, and similar drivel.

Meanwhile, virtually unnoticed by Fox and Rush and Rove and the rest of the Obama-haters and Obama-baiters, the American economy continues to improve in many ways. Fox crows that jobs are still being lost, but we economists know that job growth is a lagging indicator, meaning that it takes some time after an upturn in GDP and many other measures for jobs to be restored. It would seem that the economic measures taken immediately upon the new administration's arrival in January are already paying dividends, via an impending end to the worst recession in decades, a turnaround in the housing market, and improved confidence.

In the same short period of less than a year, national health care has reached the stage of debate in both houses of Congress, a sign of real progress -- even if a decent final health care plan, including a so-called public option, will not be easy to achieve. There is indeed hope that America will finally produce decenthealth care for the vast majority of Americans, including those previously uninsured. We may even jointhe ranksof all the other modern nations which believe, and prove,that decent health care is a right for all of their citizens, not merelya privilege for some of them.

When it comes to foreign affairs, and while an unwise escalation of the number of troops in Afghanistan appears to be on the table, there have been many real -- if little noted -- accomplishments. President Obama raised some real issues on his official visit to China, and it is more than coincidencal that the world's most-populous and most-polluting nation has just announced firm targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 -- following our own lead in that regard. And while the Administration's approach to rogue nations like Iran may appear inadequate to some, we should always remember the advice of Israeli statesman Abba Eban that it is necessary to make peacewith one's enemies, not with one's friends, and that making peace begins with a real dialogue rather than with often-hollow threats.

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Of course,President Barack Obama has made mistakes -- many of us feel that failing to meet with the Dalai Lama was one of them. But there has also been much courage shown, as in making the unpopular decision to try some alleged perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York , the major venue for that tragedy. Speaking as an old professor, I would give the Administration at least a B+ for their efforts to date, a couple of letters higher than I would have given to their immediate predecessors. Perhaps most telling is the new optimism which has infused many of us, with renewed hope for our future as a nation and as a people. For all of those positivedevelopments, we can and should give Thanks. In that same spirit of hope, may our nation's best be yet come!

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Author's Biography Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)
 

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