On Being Thankful

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(HOST) Commentator Ruth Page has taken a critical look at the many challenges facing us this year and concludes that we still have many reasons to be thankful.

(PAGE) The world is probably facing a depression not unlike the one those of us who were around in the thirties recall all too clearly. We’re still at war in Iraq. Many plants and animals are threatened with extinction, owing to human population growth and lack of understanding of the dangers of such extinctions by millions of the world’s people. Climate projections run from ominous to terrifying. So what is there to be thankful for this year?

Quite a lot, I believe. The economic downturn has taught us a necessary lesson: that laissez-faire and top-down money policies don’t work. World-wide markets left to themselves do NOT inevitably self-adjust, as many had believed. We need some government regulation to keep the U.S. economy on a more even keel, and apparently that will soon be attempted; the details are already being unsnarled by finance experts who have absorbed the latest lesson.

The incoming administration indicates it will move as quickly as possible to follow and promote healthy environmental regulations; it will undertake a detailed examination of ways to improve the dilemmas of Iraq, so firm plans can be made for troop withdrawal; it will provide some government regulation, in cooperation with other countries, to help straighten out the markets tumbling worldwide. The incoming administration hopes to reverse the current administration’s refusal to send any information and facilities to other countries if those countries allow abortion, since the poorest women are often the ones with the biggest families. At its worst in Africa, the lack of birth control contributes to many problems suffered by the poor, like AIDS, near-starvation, lack of clean facilities and medical services.

The warming of the Earth is a proven danger, and many industries are already taking steps to cut back use of fossil fuels and invest in solar, water-power, nuclear and wind-power. If we move fast enough, we still have time to prevent a world climate disaster. Even so, the dangerous gases now in the atmosphere will be around for forty to fifty more years.

Incoming politicians also plan to protect wilderness areas, as promised by long-standing regulations. Such valuable areas, worth far more than oil, are currently being opened to the utter devastation that follows road-building and deep drilling for oil.

Millions of jobs will have to be created to take on all these challenges. Americans love to keep busy, to do useful work. So let’s give thanks for the opportunity. Happy Thanksgiving.

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