On this Thanksgiving Day, anyone who is not of Native American ancestry should be grateful that their forebears managed to get here when they did.
America is indeed a nation of immigrants, as the phrase has it, but it also in a sense a nation of refugees. The hardy Pilgrims whose story we celebrate today fled religious persecution in Europe, and today, millions more flee what is largely religion-based persecution in the Middle East.
We in this nation of immigrants and refugees add to that persecution when we reject desperate refugees out of fear or argue that they be divided into groups of welcome Christians and unwelcome Muslims. That behavior is fundamentally un-American.
Listening to alarmist Republican presidential candidates, one might think that the United States had already been reduced to a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but we actually have much to be thankful for on this day. Our political battles are largely fought over the airwaves which, however distasteful, is preferable to the streets. Voters will have the final say, not dictators, royalty or even rich campaign donors.
With intolerance of others on display around the world, it is incumbent upon the US to show its tolerance. When America stands behind its traditional principles, as opposed to undermining them out of fear and meanness, it continues to be a beacon of hope.
The United States has its share of well-documented problems, but Americans have more to be thankful for than do many millions of others the world over. We have enough to share with others less fortunate, as America has done since its birth. This is not the time for that to change.