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On Thanksgiving, we appreciate our nation

Too often, we prosperous, free Americans take our many blessings for granted. Nearly all of us enjoy material wealth that is the envy of billions of people in other lands. We are free to do nearly anything our hearts desire, as long as our actions do not harm others.

Our nation itself is a blessing. Our government is our servant. Public policy is meant to benefit us, not the other way around, as is the situation in many other countries.

We govern ourselves by consensus. We recognize that we have many minorities, not just in race or religion, but also in our worldviews. We understand that in important ways, we all are in the minority from time to time.

It has been said that our diversity makes us strong. We recognize that is so not just in terms of the labels to which we often restrict ourselves when talking about differences — but more important, in the thousands of other traits reflected in what truly is a melting pot of humankind.

Our nation is special, for that very reason. If we sometimes refuse to recognize that, people from other nations do. Nearly three-quarters of a million of them go through the rigorous process of becoming citizens every year. They are eager to become Americans.

Let us not forget the blessing of living among the most generously compassionate people on the planet.

Our history as Americans includes errors, some of them exceedingly difficult to reconcile with our ideals. But together, we strive always to live up to those ideals.

We give thanks then for so many things — knowing that far from the least of our blessings is the fact that we are Americans. Happy Thanksgiving.

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