As we prepare to spend time with our families on Thanksgiving, it makes sense to stop and think for a moment about the things we are most grateful for. Personally, I know I have a lot of wonderful blessings in life, starting with the relationships that enrich me more than money ever could. Close connections to family, friends, and colleagues: Those blessings, of course, are far more important than any material wealth.
Yet, somehow, this year — with its aimless, seemingly endless unrest against “Wall Street” — I think it is appropriate to say a few words of gratitude about something that may be too easy for us to overlook: the very great blessing of living in a capitalist economy. Too many people in our country take that gift for granted or (worse) talk about it as though it were a problem.
We should never, ever forget that there’s a waiting list of people who want to get into this country and live here. That list is now well over three and a half million people long. And guess what? That’s just the people who want to get in legally. We’ve got so many people trying to get into this country illegally we can’t count them all, and we’re having a long-running political crisis over it.
So this Thanksgiving, we should make a point of asking ourselves: Why is this the place where everyone wants to be?
Here’s the answer: Because this is the kind of country where, if you want to, if you are willing to work hard, if you think creatively, if you bounce back when someone knocks you down, you really can turn your economic dream into reality. That’s why our forefathers came here. That’s why my own grandfather came here. He came here from Russia with nothing … and he built a successful business that manufactured cherries, syrups, toppings, and colas. From absolutely nothing, that business grew until it took up two city blocks in Newark, New Jersey. And every square inch of it was built by an immigrant with nothing to his name but a hope and a dream. Initially, my grandfather’s hope was just to make it to America, to the land of opportunity. And once he made it here, his dream was to build a business in the free enterprise system that America offered him. He did it!
That’s the reason why the USA is where everyone wants to be. And those of us who are already here … should thank G-d that we are!
This Thanksgiving, I want to express my thanks for living in the system we live in, the profit system, the private enterprise system. There are winners and losers in this system, and yes, I am thankful for that, because it means we live in a country that rewards risk-taking and creativity. Those who lose this time can pick themselves up, regroup, raise their game, try something new, and win the next time around. If they want to!
Our economic freedom matters. It is one of the things that makes our country great. This Thanksgiving, let’s make a point of being thankful for it.
A community of men without property, and without the hope of getting it by honest effort, is a community of slaves. — Russell C. Leffingwell
Legal Language Service: The Growing Waiting List for Immigrant Visa Applicants