Wednesday November 21, 2012

In the news business, it is often difficult to find something that is clearly worth being thankful for -- something without the usual nasty caveats the non-stop media stream constantly finds in follow-up articles on even the most heart-warming feature.

You know, those details the first article somehow overlooked, such as the criminal record an apparent media-proclaimed "hero" failed to mention, or just the fact that reality, upon further review, was not so warm and fuzzy.

But that doesn't mean we are never grateful, only that, in the modern world of communication, everyone has to try a bit harder. So how about these as Thanksgiving Day offerings:

* The end seems in sight to the Great Recession, judging from more optimistic economic indicators that have been creeping upward -- more or less -- for months. In order to be truly thankful, of course, it helps us to understand that the old economic conditions that always saw a robust recovery, leading to the next boom and bust, is off the table for the foreseeable future. In many ways, that new reality, and our understanding of it, is a good thing -- if it helps prevent the next big meltdown.

* The war in Afghanistan, which is more than a decade old and now the nation's longest, apparently is winding down in terms of U.


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S. involvement. It is time, or past time to end our large-scale military deployment there, which makes our troops targets for foe and often enough "friend" alike. This is not the approach we should be using to combat small terrorist groups around the world -- and we are confident President Obama, unlike Mitt Romney, understands this.

* The gridlock that has hamstrung the federal government for a couple of decades, worsening over the past 10 years, also gives the faintest signs of grinding to a close. The radical right of the Republican Party, which prompted the worst of the in-fighting with its self-righteous commitment to a single-minded cause of tearing down government, received a decisive setback in the re-election of President Obama and Democratic senators in several key states. From their continued harsh criticism of the administration, it might seem that not much has changed. However, there also are moderate Republicans who are finally stepping forward and demanding a change of direction for the party before its support dwindles further.

This is what happened to the Democrats and their left-wing in the late 1970s, and we can feel confident something similar will occur again -- possibly soon. For that, we should all be thankful.