The Week Just Past: Plenty to be Thankful For!
“Last year, as Thanksgiving approached, I sat down to put into words some perspectives from ‘an optimist by nature.’ This week, as I reviewed what I had written a year ago, I was struck that even as events have shaped our world in 2012 and new challenges have emerged, America still possesses a fundamental strength and character that will serve us well for years to come.
“Of course, if you were to simply read this week’s headlines or catch a few minutes of cable TV news, you could come to the conclusion that America’s best days can only be viewed in the ‘rear-view mirror’ of history.
“Sure, we face a variety of significant difficulties.
“Unemployment and underemployment are unacceptably high and persistent.
“We face record budget deficits which add every day to our spiraling national debt. We are approaching the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’ with massive tax increases and deep cuts in domestic and national security looming.
“We have a ‘broken’ immigration system and dangerously porous borders.
“We are a nation at war in Afghanistan and violent international extremists plot every day to hurt Americans and America.
“Our ally, Israel, is threatened at every turn and the Iranian government races toward a deliverable nuclear weapons capability.
“Yes, the list of challenges appears daunting. But so is the list of attributes that make America the ‘shining city on a hill’ that President Reagan famously invoked.
“Despite bleak projections, ours is still the most powerful economy on earth! Against some very tough competition, we produce 20 percent of the entire world's Gross Domestic Product.
“People invest in the U.S. economy more than any other country. Conversely, the United States is also the largest investor around the world.
“The American worker is the most productive worker on the planet.
“Our system of higher education remains the envy of the world. By just about every standard, U.S. universities still rank – collectively and individually - far above those of other nations.
“The reality is that our economy continues to offer unparalleled opportunity. That’s why there is still no country on earth that proves to be such a strong magnet to immigrants from all over.
“Frankly, if the attitude of our local troops I meet is any indication, America has a bright future. These are young men and women who are willing to volunteer to serve the cause of freedom and we should thank them and their families each and every day for their sacrifice!
“For my part, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that the United States remains the envy of the world by setting the stage for private sector job creation and opportunities, finding a way to reduce our deficit and debt, cutting taxes and making certain that we have the strongest military in the world.
“Yes, believe it or not, almost four hundred years after the early Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, Americans have plenty to be thankful for.
“In 2013, let’s recommit ourselves to ensuring that it stays that way.”