Today, all across America, families and friends will sit down to a meal of such extravagance that most in human history have never seen anything like it. An American Thanksgiving meal is a culinary masterpiece that is nearly unparalleled, with the exception of banquet tables of kings and queens, in the history of human society. Nevertheless, in spite of its historical rareness, such a feast is common in our country, and it is widely held in every state, in every community, from coast-to-coast.
While it seems like a commonplace occurrence to most of us, I pray that we are able to grasp the truly exceptional nature of a Thanksgiving meal in our truly exceptional country.
The reason that a Thanksgiving feast, a meal of such caliber as to be reserved only for nobility in most societies through history, is available to millions of Americans of all races, ages and backgrounds is the shared prosperity we enjoy as a people.
This shared prosperity is the result of millions of free people exercising their God-given human rights to creativity, productivity, innovation and individual liberty. In short, this shared prosperity is the result of human freedom, both personal freedom and economic freedom, that is the result of our society’s commitment to equality and justice for all people. This “secret sauce” of sorts, which has made America the envy of the world, is the product of time and is steeped in truth.
The truth is, God made man in his image, in his likeness, so that we, too, are creative beings capable of great creations. The genius of America is that it has recognized the innate ability of each individual, the possibilities for greatness in every person, and has structured its culture and economy to maximize human potential. In short, the exceptional genius of America is its commitment to human rights, which are borne out of our belief that God is the source of our lives and our liberties. Being a citizen of America means being afforded the opportunity to realize one’s full potential, and to experience the thrill of being a dignified member of the human family made in God’s image.
A significant part of this human experience is the dignity of work, and the fulfillment of a calling or vocation. Private property rights and economic liberty are the cornerstones to the dignity of work, and are an extension of human rights. In a very real sense, private property rights and economic freedom have little to do with property or products, but plenty to do with people. Property is not best defined as land or material, but as a relationship between a person and his or her creation. Thus, the protection of property is a protection of personhood, and the potential for human creation and productivity.
So, as we celebrate this Thanksgiving meal in America, let us remember and be thankful for our national commitment to the dignity of each and every life, and the potential of every person. It is precisely this commitment to the rights of each individual that brought a meal once reserved only for kings to people in every corner of our country. For, in America, we don’t believe anyone is entitled to eat like kings while others fight to survive at a level of subsistence. Instead, we have treated every person as equal under the law, and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” On this day, the pursuit of happiness may be as simple as a piece of pumpkin pie, but even that is made possible by our nation’s commitment to life and liberty.
May God Bless You and Yours, and May God Continue to Bless these United States.