I love Thanksgiving, the greatest of America’s civic holidays. I love it for its simplicity. I love it for its emphasis on family and tradition. I love its time of year. I love its homey food; most of all the stuffing.
(That is unless you are one of history’s worst monsters and add oysters, chestnuts, or some other damp foolishness to the mix. I mean, fruit? Pull yourselves together, people.)
But most of all, I love Thanksgiving for making explicit that gratitude is a necessary precondition for any real happiness—both for individuals and for nations.
I have been writing columns or notes like this one for nearly 20 years, and have always shared a Thanksgiving message with you, gentle reader. It is a point of privilege that dates back to when I was pushing for West Virginia to name the state holiday that falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving for Abraham Lincoln. It was perhaps the only time anyone listened to one of my very rare policy prescriptions. Of course, I had the facts on my side. Lincoln was not only West Virginia’s great benefactor in our quest for statehood, but also the president who established the national Thanksgiving holiday as we know it.