Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day: American Style

Americans will be sitting down with friends and family today, giving thanks for events and circumstances that have brought them to the table.

From where a Canadian neighbour sits, today is also a good day to thank America.

It hasn't been easy on the U.S. lately and the recession has certainly made for tough times and dark humour. Just last week, a guy in Detroit orders a burger at McDonalds and the kid behind the counter asks, "Can you afford fries with that?"

Yes, the American economy has been so bad:

- CEOs are now playing mini golf.
- Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.
- The Mafia is laying off judges.
-Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

But, seriously, there are those of us in Canada who deeply admire America and all it stands for - warts and all. Perhaps, it helps when you actually get to know Americans and learn what makes people like Don Schmincke, Lance McWilliam, Cheryl Karpen and Roy H. Williams such compelling contributors to the fabric of a nation that we Canadians can always count on if we were ever in serious trouble. It has been a tough decade for U.S. foreign policy, but the fact remains, the United States is still the greatest contributor to international relief efforts in the world. In other words, there are hundreds of countries from Albania to Zaire you shouldn't expect any help from soon. Start scanning the list of countries, stop on any letter and ask when is the last time you heard someone like Luxembourg step up the international aid plate?

A number of years ago while in Europe at a fairly large conference, former Secretary of State Colin Powell was asked if U.S. plans for Iraq were just an example of "empire building". He answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."

It became very quiet in the room.

If you're a Canadian reading this, you might want to reach out to someone you know south of the border and let them know your thoughts are with them today.

Happy Thanksgiving America.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them"

p.s. ... There are some things about the American Thanksgiving that some comedians can't resist poking fun at.

p.s.s... The U.S. Thanksgiving is also a great day for NFL football. Later today, the Green Bay Packers are in Detroit to try and devour the Lions; The Oakland Raiders invade opulent Cowboys Stadium in Dallas while tonight, Eli Manning and the New York Giants will be in Denver aiming to tame the Broncos. One of America's greatest social commentators once made some interesting observations about football and how it compares to America's past time.

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