We the People: Be thankful for all circumstances

Is it possible to be thankful for good news even when things personally and collectively are not going well? We should not be occupied just by the issues that affect everyday life: power and security, as well economic and fiscal security.

These are important but they mean nothing if we allow them to eclipse the fundamental birthright of the citizens of this great republic: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The stand-offs in Washington, D.C., although sensible when examined through the prism of capital city politics, must change.

The Capital is run on dollars or votes. It is a lot easier to collect $300 million to spend and make a difference than to collect 300 million votes because the votes are attached to minds distracted by living, working and pursuing that elusive thing called happiness.

We should take satisfaction from the fact our leaders were able to overcome their partisan ways and deal with the borrowing limit crisis but we need a permanent solution. It will happen when the people realize their cherished freedom is more important than politics and it is inextricably tied to the way our leaders run the nation.

Thomas Jefferson said, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves and if … not enlightened enough to exercise control … the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education.”

We must be educate ourselves and our representatives that we are responsible for the way our government governs on a national, state and local level.

On the local level, the people elected a new mayor, public advocate and borough president and gave a new mandate to our city councilmember. Vincent Gentile easily won reelection to the City Council. He will be part of the majority and its senior member, which will bring more attention and money to Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio defeated Joe Lhota and now faces the tough job of running the city. He must address the worker contract negotiation legacy left to him by Mayor Bloomberg. Letitia James is our new public advocate.

This hat trick of elections highlights Brooklyn’s ascendancy as a business, dining, education and sports mecca. Brooklynites are in seats of power at all levels of city government. When we feel that things cannot change for the better, we just have to look around Brooklyn and realize that anything (with hard work and common sense) is possible.

The people rejected a constitutional amendment to extend the retirement age of state Supreme Court justices from 70 to 80. Chief Judge Jonathon Lippman, who is 68 years old, vowed to continue the fight to raise the retirement age despite the defeat.

A shooting in a shopping mall in New Jersey reminded us we are still vulnerable to senseless violence because the instrumentalities of death are so poorly regulated. An unfortunate young man took his life with a rifle in that public arena but he could have caused many innocent people unnecessary grief and pain.

A killer with a gun killed a TSA officer and wounded others in Los Angeles airport. Supporters of gun rights need to reign in the heartless profiteers and kooks that claim to advocate for them.

The Second Amendment Foundation group tried to organize a “Guns Save Lives Day” rally in Newtown, Connecticut on the anniversary of the school massacre there. The people must realize that some individuals will do anything to profit themselves and the people must put a stop to these activities.

Denying these false leaders attention and money will stop the base pandering and encourage some real leading. Washington, D.C. and reality television should get the same treatment from the people: change the channel.

Let us give thanks by coming together and working on the boring job of creating better government this Thanksgiving Day.

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