By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – What exactly are we giving thanks for today?

That has always varied depending on who’s doing the celebrating.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

The “original” Thanksgiving in Plymouth in 1621 was a feast to mark a good harvest. Other colonists celebrated the simple fact of their safe arrival in the New World. On the island of Grenada, Thanksgiving celebrates the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of 1983.

For us, Thanksgiving is widely perceived as a celebration of being an American, with all the blessings that can mean. At my house, and maybe at yours too, we always pause during dinner to talk about what we’re thankful for.

Let me help get the conversation going with a few suggestions:

I am thankful for the freedom of speech. Not fake freedom of speech, the kind they have in some other countries where you’re free to say what you want unless it’s critical of the powers that be. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do for a living, and this wouldn’t be America.

I am thankful for fellow citizens who understand that disagreement need not be disagreeable, and that differences of opinion can be sharp without being irreconcilable.

I am thankful for freedom of the press, which in the internet age has resulted in countless voices being heard where once there were few. There is more good reporting and analysis now than ever before, even though it may require more of an effort to find it.

I am thankful for our system of checks and balances, that keeps us more or less on an even keel and fends off extremist impulses and fads. I am thankful for the activists, voters and even the politicians who keep our system alive by caring about it and investing the time and effort to make it work.

And most of all, whatever the failures of our system, I am thankful to live and work here, not in some totalitarian or socialist state where individual rights and merit are devalued.

What’s that? You strongly disagree?

Then let me say this to you – Happy Thanksgiving.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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