Thanksgiving Day, 2015: I
am grateful that our Plainville free-range turkey is the only
creature in our household that lost its head.
Thanks to Charlie Baker,
our calm, rational governor, and other governors across the country,
President Obama has not yet been able to bring thousands of refugees
into our country from countries populated by Islamic terrorists who
have been beheading Christians and others who don’t share their
narrow, appalling religious beliefs.
Some governors want a hold
on immigration from these countries for the duration of the War on
Terror. Gov. Baker is simply demanding assurances from the federal
government that there is a proper vetting process in place before
Massachusetts is required to take “a share” determined by a
president who, despite this month’s Paris attacks, is still clueless
about the Islamic threat and thinks that “climate change” is
humanity’s biggest problem.
The U.S. House, including
experienced Democratic Congressmen Lynch and Keating, has passed a
bill placing a “pause” on accepting “Syrian refugees” until it can
assure the American people these new residents are not a threat to
them. The U.S. Senate has not yet taken up the bill, and the
President, apparently horrified by the radical concept of “Pause”,
has threatened a veto.
Our own congressman, Seth
Moulton, has the same dislike of the concept “pause,” assurances of
proper vetting, and concern for public safety in a commonwealth
whose citizens have died and lost limbs to localized terrorist
attacks. He thinks that because he had a well-vetted Iraqi friend
from his time in Iraq who came here to live, every male rushing
across borders cannot possibly be a threat to anyone.
This would presumably
include the Tsarnaev brothers, refugees who killed and maimed right
here at the Boston Marathon. Their “success” occurred because the
federal government didn’t do its job. Homeland Security and the FBI
have just testified before Congress that thorough vetting is not
possible from failed nations which don’t have adequate
Wonder if the congressman
noticed the news about the robbery this month at the Worcester
Armory, which was completely unprotected with no guards or alarms:
one man spent a few hours loading 16 military weapons into his SUV.
When he was caught in New York, we learned he had a dishonorable
discharge from the Army and was supposed to be wearing an ankle
bracelet. The entire system failed. Nine of the guns have been
recovered; who knows where the others are.
Despite being a Marine,
Congressman Moulton has apparently never heard the military phrase,
“SNAFU” (Situation Normal, All Fouled Up), which applies directly to
military life but equally well to government in general. Remember
the word “Normal” and feel free to use the better F-word that we
can’t print in a family newspaper. I heard the acronym often in my
marriages and relationship with military men/veterans, one of whom
is the turkey-cooking Chip Ford.
Chip is really good about
my insistence to choose a “happy turkey” that had a good life,
outside a cage, despite the additional cost. As he makes his
mother’s stuffing, I follow my family tradition of carving slices of
cranberry sauce into little red turkeys with a cookie cutter.
But we are having one
Thanksgiving argument. Chip says I should write that as Americans,
we have less to be thankful for than we did last year because of
America’s failure to deal with Obama’s domestic and international
Chip is right, that the
political and economic systems are deteriorating, but I can’t help
remaining optimistic, for at least one more election.
I am reading a book by
science writer Matt Ridley, who writes to explain us humans as
creatures of evolution, putting it all in perspective. Ridley’s
Rational Optimist – How Prosperity Evolves” argues that despite
all the horrors of human history, we eventually have worked through
its various manifestations and still have the potential to create a
The paperback version was
published in 2011; if I didn’t intersperse my reading of it with
reading the newspapers and watching the news, I could be on board
with his optimism. In the past few years, the evil in the Middle
East, now evolved into Daesch (ISIS), has once again raised the
ongoing historic battle between civilization and religious insanity.
But Ridley argues that our
job is to remain optimistic and continuing to fight. Today is a good
day to agree with him; to be grateful for having lived during the
best of times in America, for the many advances in medicine and
science, and get ready for more positive change.
Chip and others of my
friends say it’s over, that Europe, because of its demographics as
well as its broken borders, will fall first and we will follow. When
I think about my grandchildren, I share his anger at the
possibility; but I’m not ready to give in.
I’m watching “Saints
& Strangers,” the National Geographic movie about the First
Thanksgiving, which is more accurate than the sweet tale we learned
as children. One fascinating plot line is the argument between two
Indian tribes about whether to welcome the English or fight them to
what we all know would be an inevitable finish.
I’m grateful for realistic
television movies, books about evolution (and evolution itself),
once-happy turkeys and Chip’s stuffing. Hope there were no
explosions at the Macy’s Parade today. My plan is to spend a
peaceful day reading my book, watching the AKC dog show, and
listening to the new Adele “25” CD.
My son visited this month
to help me organize my house, a longtime dream that is slowly being
realized. My arm, injured by the flu shot, is almost better, and I
no longer take any pain medication. And for my partner Chip, who
helped me get through it, I’ve found a favorite quote, from somebody
I didn’t record:
“Without real, genuine,
malevolent evil to fight against, we’d all be mindless nincompoops.”
So since last Thanksgiving, we the good guys are getting smarter.
Include the foolish politicians and other mindless nincompoops we
have to deal with, and we are on our way to what Ridley might call
“highly evolved.” Happy Thanksgiving!
Barbara Anderson of
Marblehead is a weekly columnist for the Salem News and
Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company.