This Thanksgiving season I am thankful for small pleasures, like being able to order a Mad Happy Ale at Twain’s in Decatur, Georgia, and listen to jazz, bluegrass, and blues musicians jamming on various days of the week.
I am thankful that we ended Prohibition. I am thankful that free enterprise is working on a small scale at Twain’s, where musicians gather on their own time and play for tips, where waiters work for tips, where the brewers are free to concoct that nectar of the gods, Mad Happy Ale. I am glad that I am able to stop by there on my way home after a hard afternoon of working in that most un-free of American institutions, the university.
I am glad that the government has not yet decided to restrict which musicians can play at Twain’s or how many barrels of Mad Happy Ale Twain’s can brew or how much they can discount it on certain nights. It’s supply and demand, and I know that when I requested Mad Happy Ale last Sunday afternoon and they were out, my vote, along with others, set the master brewer brewing that hoppy ambrosia.
I am thankful that I am not flying this holiday season, and I am thankful that Americans are protesting the government’s unlawful searches. I am thankful that the American spirit still lives. “Don’t touch my junk” is today’s version of “Give me liberty or give me death.” That primitive part of our brains that instinctively reaches for a weapon against the searches of law-abiding Americans has not been bred out of most Americans.
I am thankful that I can read Ann Coulter’s columns that reveal the stupidity of such “safety” measures. I am glad my father decided to go to the United States instead of Canada, as some of his eight siblings did. Canada would not allow Ann Coulter entrance to give a talk and speak her mind.
The country I was born in, Slovenia, part of the artificial conglomeration called Yugoslavia, was communist; my parents took me out when I was little.
But despotism lives on in people even when they physically leave the despotic country. They become apathetic, suspicious, afraid, depressed. I saw some of it in my parents, but especially among parents of my Ukrainian friends. They had good reason. Their relatives were starved to death by a government that took control of the food supply. Could something like that happen in America?
Alexis de Tocqueville warned about this soft despotism. I am thankful that capitalists set up a foundation to pay my salary so that I can teach Tocqueville, because the university where I teach would surely frown upon my placement of Democracy in America on my syllabus. I am thankful that after showing Ronald Reagan’s 1964 speech, I could show newly elected Congressman Allen West’s video to my class. He is the Patrick Henry of our day.
I am thankful for the Tea Party, that group of Americans not cowed by the long arm of the government, that group that is clinging to their guns and religion, and that helped elect Allen West. There is still much for them to learn, but I am thankful that so many ordinary Americans have volunteered their hours and dollars to preserving freedom. I am thankful that voters were alarmed and awakened this election.
I am thankful that 70 percent of Oklahoma voters voted to prevent sharia law from taking hold. I shudder at what CAIR is thinking of doing next, like taking away my Mad Happy Ale and music because it offends Muslim sensibilities.
Come to think of it, it’s good to go to a place like Twain’s and never see anyone wearing a hijab. It’s a good place to begin a revolution.
I know that the more “enlightened” “conservatives,” like Kathleen Parker and David Brooks, would dismiss my and other immigrants’ instinctive fears as irrational. (But then again I instinctively think there is something wrong with cozying up to Eliot Spitzer on national television.)
These people are part of the inner circle. They are useful to the regime in power, just as a certain member of the Communist party in my father’s village who owned the only car there in 1969 was. The others?
Well, the name “Tito” was whispered in the privacy of a home (built according to the architectural plan established by the government). But here in the U.S.A. we had average citizens dressing down a turncoat senator at a townhall meeting!
When I see a photo of Janet Napolitano I see Josef Broz Tito. Big Sis ordered her agents to be on the lookout for those like me, who place “Don’t Tread on Me” bumper stickers on their cars.
Many immigrants from Eastern European countries could not understand how Americans could have elected Obama. Well, our historical memory was wiped clean by the educationists, so that we could not see the threat in our midst.
But then as the emperor kept lecturing, hectoring, blaming, ridiculing, and prodding, he provoked the “sleeping giant” and that was the American spirit.
While some like Debra Saunders rationalize invasive body searches of law-abiding American citizens, there is still an instinctive reaction to such government tyranny. We’ve had two years of an onslaught of government experts imposing their regulations on us, expanding executive power, breaking promises, coddling terrorists, and passing legislation in the dead of night.
A law-abiding, generous, welcoming people can take only so much from a government that flatters its enemies, disparages its own citizens, ignores criminality, and seeks to institute itself in every facet of citizens’ lives. There is still something in the American character that shudders at the picture of a long line of docile people being herded into a transportation conveyance, while indifferent, ill-educated government employees ogle, prod, and poke their bodies. They understand what such government invasion means psychologically and spiritually, how it demoralizes a brave and free people. We may be boarding 747s instead of cattle cars, but the American spirit rebels. We know there are better ways, like arming ourselves.
There has been a “long train of abuses” over these last two years. There are still some like Congressman-elect Allen West who see these and say, “Pick up your bayonets” and “CHARGE!”
Isn’t it amazing that someone whose forebears were slaves could strike such a chord among free Americans and inspire them to elect him as their representative? It could happen in no other country. We still speak out and speak honestly. We still sit tall in the saddle. We still have our six-guns at our sides. We will not be prodded and herded along. This is American exceptionalism, what makes us different.
I thank God for that.