I’m going to cut and run for the Thanksgiving holidays. I’ll return briefly on Sunday – to post a link to my new print column (about Hillary Clinton’s ‘08 prospects) – and resume the normal schedule on Monday.
But, in the meantime, here’s what I am most thankful for in 2006:
1. Freedom of speech and the right to dissent, staples of the First Amendment that have made quite a comeback since the prelude to war in Iraq, when it was unwise to second-guess The Decider.
2. The Internet, which has given us more tools for holding politicians accountable, fact-checking their veracity, and exposing their character flaws via YouTube (as Senator George Allen in Virginia recently discovered, on the way to unemployment).
3. The mainstream media (yeah, bloggers, you heard me) for demonstrating its continued relevance by breaking virtually every political story that mattered most in the '06 election – from the Jack Abramoff scandal (The Washington Post) to the Duke Cunningham scandal (San Diego Union-Tribune and Copley News Service) to the warrantless wiretaps (The New York Times), to the Mark Foley scandal (the website of ABC News), to the state of denial (Bob Woodward), to the string of deceptions about Iraq WMDs (the Washington bureau of now-defunct Knight Ridder). As Dylan Thomas might put it, we shall not go gentle into that good night.
4. America’s military men and women, who continue to do their laudably professional best under increasingly treacherous circumstances in a no-win war, tragically far from their families on feast day.
5. And a whole lot of other important things, such as family & friends, Neil Young’s archival music, Monet’s impressionist paintings, Elmore Leonard’s pitch-perfect dialogue, Ryan Howard’s most valuable ballplaying, and Robert Altman’s path-breaking cinema (may he rest in peace).
Make up your own lists, and have a great holiday.