Make America Grateful Again

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 November 23, 2017|
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As we celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and friends, we should set aside time to recognize the higher purpose for which we gather together around the dinner table. More than food, family, or football, Thanksgiving is about acknowledging the duty we have as citizens to honor God for the blessings He has mercifully bestowed upon us and our nation.

In the first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation, President George Washington reminds us that “it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

Gratitude, according to Washington, is a central republican virtue. In giving gratitude such an esteemed place, Washington harks back to Cicero, who wrote that “being and appearing grateful . . . is not only the greatest, but is also the parent of all the other virtues.” In order to govern ourselves, we must first recognize the authority of the One who governs us. We must understand our place in the cosmos; that we are a little lower than the angels but higher than the beasts of the field. Because we have been granted the gift of reason by our Creator, we are duty bound to worship Him.

For Washington our regime, based on the twin pillars of “civil and religious liberty,” owes all its success to “that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”

Gratitude to the Creator, from whom all blessings flow, is the ground of our rights. It is a duty that we must carry out prior to claiming the benefits of rights for ourselves. Rights, claims that others owe to us, flow from the duties we owe to our fellow human beings and ultimately to God. If we are not properly fulfilling our duties, we cannot expect others to fulfill theirs toward us.

We honor the Most High God who has given us so much for reasons known only to Him. In turn, as Washington recognized, our government should mirror God’s example “by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed.” Government must not violate the rights of the people and must provide for their safety and happiness, a typology that points to the perfect and eternal government in the Kingdom of Heaven under God’s sovereign authority.

Gratitude demands that we use our undeserved blessings for the benefit of the citizens of earthly nations. From the Book of Genesis to the establishment of New Jerusalem as John outlined in the Book of Revelation, blessings flow to individuals, tribes, and nations. The concept of nations—both biblical and modern—and therefore sovereignty is an inference from the blessings God bestows on man.

This sacred act should engender a deep and abiding humility in all of us. It should function as a brake on our more selfish ambitions and encourage us to follow the laws of nature and nature’s God. Gratitude acts as a stumbling block for those who would twist and warp God’s blessings for their own selfish ends, thereby desecrating God’s holy name. An overweening administrative state that purports to rule every facet of our lives without our consent is therefore an affront to God’s sovereign authority as Washington understood it.  

A concern for gratitude and its connection to securing the common good of the regime has returned in the age of Trump. This is necessary at a time where rights displace duties and a radical autonomy unconnected to anything higher than untutored human will is lauded as the pinnacle of human existence. Our increasingly liquid society, where everything is changeable and therefore unstable, is in desperate need of Washington’s lessons.

Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump has reminded Americans that the ground of their rights is in the Creator of all things. He ran for president because he wanted to “give back to this country which has been so good to me.” The good he received from the people of our nation finds its source in God. “In America,” he has said, “we don’t worship government—we worship God.” “This is America’s heritage, a country that never forgets that we are all—all, every one of us—made by the same God in Heaven.”

Trump’s public lowering of himself—a man known for his bombast and brashness—is an example of the equal duty all citizens have to humble ourselves before our Creator and thank Him for his blessings. For as the Gospel of Matthew proclaims, “So the last will be first, and the first last.”

Though false religions may teach we are gods unto ourselves and the good life means following wayward feelings emanating from the depths of our own sick hearts, Trump’s public theology teaches that only God is supreme, that He is our only star and compass. Gratitude for our Creator is therefore the cornerstone of any earthly blessings we may receive.

As Washington before him, Trump connects God’s blessings with the duty that government must be bound by law and secure the common good of all who fall under its auspices. He has stated his intent to secure “the common good,” which is attained through an adherence to “our beloved Constitution” and the “founding principle of sovereignty” that gives it legitimacy. As Trump has maintained, “Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States.”

As God instituted a law for His own people, so must we institute and follow the law. Without the law, we are adrift on rough seas without any way to find the safety of the shore.

This is accomplished through “immigration enforcement and border security,” “fair trade” that benefits Americans, and a foreign policy based on securing our own interests and does “not seek to impose our way of life on anyone.” If we are successful in this endeavor, then we “will pass on the blessings of liberty, and the glories of God, to our children.”

From the first days-long feast between the pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe in 1621, Thanksgiving has been about acknowledging the gratitude we owe “to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” as Lincoln said in his 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation.

This Thanksgiving, we should take time with our loved ones to give thanks for our blessings and ask God to bless future generations as he has blessed our own.

 

About the Author:

Mike Sabo

Mike Sabo is a Mt. Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a recent graduate of the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College. He and his wife live in Alexandria, Virginia.

  • ricocat1

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING AMERICA!

  • Panope Vreeland

    Well said, Mr. Sabo.

  • CaptSmith415

    “Like Washington, Trump…”
    Good piece until you try to compare a man-child who tweets about how basketball players should be more grateful with the father of this nation. It is almost as ridiculous as the piece comparing Trump with Lincoln yesterday.

    • Panope Vreeland

      Trump and Washington are operating in different eras. That you still don’t ‘get’ Trump’s M.O. is on you.

      • CaptSmith415

        No, I get his m.o. and this sites m.o.—

  • Pepe Turcon

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING AMERICA!

  • Party of Lincoln

    The author of this essay is affiliated with the “Center for American Greatness”. I invite readers here to type “Center for American Greatness” into the google bar. Please, go ahead. You’ll be directed to this website:

    https://www.donatetotrump.com/, which is a garden variety pro-Trump PAC.

    But even better is this claim, which you’ll find on this site which serves no other function than that of a fundraising vehicle:

    I never give money to politicians. That’s why I donate to Trump.
    — Jack D. Masterson, Retired 4-Star General

    There are no issue briefs and no news feed of any kind at “Center for American Greatness”. It’s sole purpose is to separate cash from useful idiots and enrich “fellows” who run the site. Anyone looking to contribute “$5” to support President Trump have better PACs to send their hard earned cash to, such as “Great America PAC”, “Rebuilding America Now”, and “Make America Number 1”. Of course, such PACs once drew the ire of Mr. Trump, who famously said:

    “These super PACs are a disaster by the way, folks, very corrupt. It’s going to lead to a lot of disasters. … There is total control of the candidates. I know it better than anybody that probably ever lived,” Trump said during a debate last year. “I know the system far better than anybody else, and I know the system is broken. I’m the only one up here that’s going to be able to fix that system because that system is wrong.”

    Curious as to who “Jack D. McMaster”, allegedly a retired 4-Star General, I looked though online military sources to see who this guy is. It’s definitely not H.R. McMaster, current National Security Adviser but more importantly a genuine great American, though he may be out of a job after reports that he trashed his boss (again) have been published. It wasn’t that long ago that Hannity, Limbaugh, Cernovic, Jones, Prosobiec and Bannon (who gave the world the pedophile Roy Moore) launched a jihad against McMaster.

    There appears to be no “Jack D. Masterson, Retired 4-Star General”, although when I return to the office on Monday I’ll be able to verify the DoD status of any person with that name (I’ll check “John” as well). If there is a 4-star general by the name of Jack D. Masterson he is unknown to the world. And if this is a fabricated quote by a person who does not exist, would any of us really be surprised?

    P.T. Barnum smiles.

    • Panope Vreeland

      How do you know Roy Moore is a pedophile?

      • Party of Lincoln

        The 32 year old Roy Moore made a sexual advance toward a 14 year old girl. The accepted definition of “pedophilia” establishes the age threshold for the child who is the object of an adult’s sexual desire at 13, so it is not technically correct to describe Moore as a “pedophile”. She was 14 at the time. Pick whatever word suits you best.

        As for this “Jack D. Masterson, retired 4-star general”, who allegedly supports Trump, no such person exists. This claim is a pure fabrication conjured up for the purpose of fleecing Trump supporters.

        We’re not going to adjudicate the “greatness” of Trump here, but it should be noted that Trump has made a farce of his populist campaign rhetoric. He has refused to punish China for currency manipulation, there is no “wall” nor will there be, NAFTA is still very much in tact, he has put Wall Street bankers in charge of his administration and he is complicit in the writing of a tax bill that gives him and his family and other elites a massive tax break (in the billions) while at the same time actually increasing the tax burden on filers in the $30-75k range for years to some. Even stipulating the economic stimulus of a corporate tax rate cut from 35% to 20% there’s no stimulative effect whatsoever by repealing the estate tax altogether.

        Trump supporters have been mocked by the very man they express supreme devotion to. While he stokes a pointless culture war to sustain their devotion and distract his critics on the left and the right, his focus on a tax bill that will rob the lower and middle classes to further enrich the establishment he claimed to run against is extraordinary. It remains to be seen whether the Republican Party will become nothing other than the servant of Wall Street or whether it will return to its roots as the party of Main Street.

    • CaptSmith415

      I think that there are two different “Centers for American Greatness.” One is the superpac, the other is a fake institute meant to give this Trump-apologist website some legitimacy and poor recent graduates of Hillsdale College a made-up fellowship to put on their cv while they look for a real job.

  • Party of Lincoln