FOR MANY AMERICANS, this is not the most uplifting Thanksgiving. The country remains embroiled in two wars, and military families continue to face the holiday season with their loved ones serving their country and in harm's way. Unemployment in Florida and elsewhere remains stubbornly high, and too many Americans continue to struggle to find jobs or hold on to the ones they have been fortunate to keep. Yet even among these challenges, there are many reasons to count blessings today and pause for reflection between the pumpkin pie and the next football game.
Once again this month, the nation engaged in another election that reflects the strength of our democracy. Political power shifted dramatically in Congress, and not a single shot was fired. Florida survived one of the closest races for governor in history, and not a single lawsuit was filed. More voters should have gone to the polls, and everyone would have preferred far fewer television ads with false attacks. But despite all of its flaws, the electoral process continues be a marvelous model for the world.
The fragile economy remains a more pressing concern for many Americans. The record home foreclosures in Florida and elsewhere have unsettled neighborhoods and uprooted families unaccustomed to financial troubles. Homelessness is up, the lines for aid are longer, and cans on the shelves at local food pantries are disappearing faster. But even here, there are rays of hope.
Jobs are being created in Florida and across the nation, although not nearly enough to meet the demand. Home prices are leveling off, even though the number of home sales has declined from a year ago. Retailers and beach resorts are more optimistic about the coming months. The recovery is going to be slower than anyone would like, but many economic indicators are no longer moving in the wrong direction. Americans remain resilient and thankful for families and friends who have remained strong in the face of hardship with an eye toward better times ahead.
Most Americans remain far more comfortable than the struggling Pilgrims who initiated this uniquely American holiday. Yet on this Thanksgiving, it is difficult for many to look optimistically toward the future when coping with the present remains so challenging. As we watch the parades, enjoy the gorgeous weather and visit with friends and families today, let us count our blessings and share them with those around us who may not be as fortunate. Even in these tenuous economic times, America remains a powerful nation rich in resources and generous in spirit.