When you struggle to come up with a better Thanksgiving message than "I'm thankful the actions of our incompetent Congress and trigger-happy President didn't result in anything big blowing up," it might be a sign that things have not gone that well this year. The major positive of 2007 seems to be that our nation's situation hasn't gotten much worse and no major new enemy wants to kill us all.
Unfortunately, all of the same old enemies still hate us and we seem woefully incapable of doing much to stop them. Osama bin Laden could be hiding out in the German pavilion at Epcot Center wearing a "my name is Osama" badge and not only would we not find him, we'd spend billions of dollars looking for him someplace else.
It appears that whoever our Commander in Chief has looking for the terrorist leader would be tricked if bin Laden hid behind his hands during a game of peekaboo. Looking for bin Laden has, of course, not been a priority because it was much more important to execute Saddam Hussein, who had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.
Executing Hussein, seemingly the only person able to keep Iraq from a state of endless civil war, has destabilized the Middle East and given Iran the green light to develop nuclear weapons. So, now instead of one easy-to-control dictator armed with those "Scud" missiles which tend to fly a few feet before crashing into the ground, we have multiple madmen with weapons that could actually cause mass destruction.
In addition to our crazy friends in Iran, we also have a madman running North Korea, and a government in Pakistan led by one of these men who wear a military uniform at all times. Like a CEO who wears a Halloween costume to work everyday, someone dressed like Captain Crunch while conducting affairs of state does not exactly inspire confidence.
On the domestic front we have $100 barrels of oil, $3.50 gallons of gas and a mortgage industry less stable than a Pamela Anderson marriage. The values of our houses have dropped, our retirement savings make it unlikely we'll ever enjoy a senior discount and the planet may or may not soon burst into flames.
Personally 2007, though not without some fine moments provided by my wife and son, was not a banner year. It is in this area, however, where I think everyone must find their own reasons to be thankful, grateful and hopeful.
You and I cannot control the swirling chaos caused by our government or hope to insulate ourselves from the legion of madmen, financial pitfalls and other boogeymen who might do us harm. We can, however, hold on to those closest to us and do what we can to make their lives a little bit better.
So, I'm thankful for my wife, my son and our many dear friends. I'm thankful that my brother got engaged to someone amazing and that one of my closest friends had a wonderful, healthy daughter. And, while I'm sorry that she had to learn this, I'm thankful and proud that my mother learned how to take quite a few punches to the face and still come out for the next round.
I'm also thankful and grateful to have learned that there are at least a few people in my world, who despite their own personal tragedies, still found time to be where they were needed. Most importantly, perhaps, I'm thankful that tomorrow is another day and probably a better one at that.
Daniel B. Kline's work appears in over 100 papers weekly. His new book, "Easy Answers to Every Problem," can be ordered at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. Daniel B. Kline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.