Thursday, November 23, 2017


Refugee Thanksgiving by Norman Rockwell                                        Source 
I always think of Norman Rockwell around the holidays.  His paintings of American life, while mainly set in early to mid-last century, are timeless to me.  And the Thanksgiving and Christmas ones just put me in the holiday spirit and the resultant good mood.  I was going to post the quintessential Rockwell Thanksgiving picture, "Freedom From Want," but discovered this one instead which makes  a far better cover picture for my musings today.

Quite a few of my relatives live right here in San Diego County.  My mom was from a big Catholic family and three sisters and their many offspring all live in the area.  Each year someone is goaded into volunteers to host the clan for the traditional meal, which is probably the first thing I can be thankful for.   The deal is that the host doesn't have to do anything- no cooking, no cleaning, no nothin'.  We've hosted several times and have to say that doesn't mean the day is effortless, far from it, but I still love it.  It's a big potluck, semi-coordinated by me or one of the other more organized brethren.  We had 2 dozen pies one year, but had to ration the turkey, had no ice, and cranberries were nowhere to be found.  Still, there was plenty of food, family, and as always, plenty to be thankful for.

I'm not exactly sure why, but I'm always tapped to give the blessing before dinner.  During it I always ask our Lord to bless those not as fortunate as us.  That's a universal request of course, not reserved for just those in my immediate community, city, or even this country for that matter.  I know we live in the greatest nation that has ever been, and that comes with many blessings.  It's important to keep those in mind, especially this time of year.

I'm grateful for a home, and that all my friends and family have homes as well.  On the other side of the coin, there's a huge homeless population here in San Diego and it keeps growing.  Maybe it's because of the leniency with which the local government treats them, or the amazing services we have here with the Alpha Project and Fr. Joe, whose outreach is wonderful and saintly.  It's almost surely because of the great weather here as well.  Why be homeless and freezing in Baltimore or Philly when you can be homeless in sunny San Diego?  Is there gratitude I can glean from that?  It's tougher to find for sure, but it's good that we treat these people with respect and that we have such local institutions that help.  It's not necessarily solving the problem- mental health care and addiction treatment is needed in spades, but I'm grateful that I have enough food and money to help a little when I can.    The reason I backed away from more regular posting here on The Chant is because I've gotten heavily involved in The Knights of Columbus.  My Council works diligently on our "Food For Families" program, donating food and funds to help others in need.  Are we making a dent in the problem?  I don't know, but what I do know is that some folks aren't hungry after getting the help we provide.  I'm thankful for that organization which helps me to be a little more charitable than I probably would otherwise.  And I'm grateful to live in a country where this need isn't the norm.

For the most part, we live in a country where food is plentiful.  Sure, plenty of folks suffer from "Food Insecurity"- they don't know where their next meal is coming from, but we have compassionate people, food banks, soup kitchens, and programs that help stem the tide.  We don't have significant malnutrition here and hunger isn't something that affects entire populations.  I'm thankful that I can be a little part of that.

Comparing notes?

You've probably noticed how the country is currently obsessed with bad behavior from those who previously claimed to have the moral high ground.  These are the same same folks who accuse the GOP of waging a war on women.  The left and the Hollywood elite have both been dirty nasty people, since probably forever, but it's now out front for all the world to see.*  From pedophilia to rape, to sexual assault, and harassment, all of it wrong and all of it disgusting, the voices of the victims are finally rising above the fray, above the ability of the perpetrators and the political protectors to stifle them.  While I'm somewhat reveling in it all, to see both the scumbags getting their comeuppance and the victims getting their say, there is something to keep in perspective.  With all the accusations, the media outrage, the faux-media outrage, and the faux-media faux-outrage, we can be thankful that we live in a country with a media industry, however flawed it may be, to tell the story of the victims and hold the corrupt accountable.   It's a great country that cares about the victims, that allows women to have a voice and equal footing, even if there are some folks who refuse to see that.  I can't allow those who would rather play the victim, affect my happiness.  Gratitude can make the world a better place.


I'm not blindly believing every one of those victims of course.  Some accusations are so old and seem too politically expedient that they have to be taken with a grain of salt and both eyes open.  But the schadenfreude is pretty satisfying.  Can we fire every one of the politicians?  No, not immediately, but we have a great institution in our electoral process.  Something a hundred other countries don't have.  We aren't stuck with our leaders, we just have to vote them out.

What about Hollywood? Should we boycott the entire industry?  Possible, but not likely.  The TV and movie industry is all too pervasive and to be honest, pretty darn entertaining.  And dropping Hollywood isn't all that necessary, nor is it fair to all those there that are just hard working folks.  Hollywood is fronted by the glitz of celebrity, but it's built by a hundred thousand set designers, carpenters, computer technicians, lighting technicians, audio engineers, writers, caterers, etc.  Few of those people are likely in a position that would allow them to function as an unchecked predator.  It's the producers, directors, and some A-list actors that wield that power, but not any longer.  What we need to do is not get caught up in the cult of celebrity that is Hollywood, nor listen to ignorant actors who are given a soapbox because of it.

Is there something to be grateful for there?  I suppose it goes back to the earlier point about a free press- an institution which we can air our grievances, backed by the first amendment, which gives us the right to petition the government (and sue to pants off the predators).

Unfortunately, just today I learned that Congress has a secret multi-million dollar slush fund to pay off those who are sexually abused by members of Congress under a seal of silence.  When are we going to wake up and hold these pompous frauds accountable?  Soon I hope.  If not, then in November of 2018, 2020, 2022, etc.   I'm thankful for voters that help do that, that help us keep this country great.  And I'm hopeful that the current attention being paid to all the true deplorables in government, media, and Hollywood will help turn the minds of some other voters.

 But, even if they don't, I'm still full of gratitude, for our country which has problems such as this.  These are first world problems that so many other countries couldn't even comprehend.  Capitalism and bill of rights allow us to have lifestyles where we can take the time to bitch about our government, and a strong military that defends those rights.  Our standard of living allows us to have an entertainment industry which is so entertaining.  Our society also enables (most of) us to provide our families with food and shelter and so many other things that we take for granted.  Things that other countries don't have that make our country a beacon of hope for not only those living here, but refugees and downtrodden from elsewhere.  Is it perfect?  Far from it, but I have gratitude for what it is and what I have.  Which is far more than most.

Happy Thanksgiving to Sarge, Juvat, Lush, and all the Chanters out there!

*I'm fully aware that sexual harassment isn't just from the left, but the juxtaposition surrounding them is staggering.



  1. Happy Thanksgiving, to you, as well, Good Sir!

  2. Well said, Tuna! Happy Thanksgiving to All.

  3. Bravo Tuna!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  4. And let us remember those who stand the watch on the far ramparts this day, and every day, and their families who wait patiently for their return. We are blessed to live in this great land, but we need to be reminded that while the peacekeepers stand their lonely watch America has gone to the mall for Black Friday.

    1. Agreed Dave. Although this American is going to be in his woodshop tomorrow, making something for my son on his return.

  5. Excellent Tuna. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with all the Davis family.

  6. Thank you for a most excellent post, Tuna. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

    Paul L. Quandt

  7. My father was a Knight. I don't think he ever got his hat, sword and cape, but he sure did the work. It gave him purpose, which the lack of is a death-knell to retirees. Bravo for your service, both past and present.

    My family and I are eternally happy to have survived socialism the first time it was practiced here in America by Europeans. Eternally blessed that we have survived war, disease, illness, catastrophe, debt and all those nasty negative things. Truly, as bad as the USA is portrayed, we are so much more blessed than anywhere else in the world.

    God Bless, and Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the leftovers!

  8. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  9. Thanks everyone. Another blessed day in the Tuna household. Maybe too blessed, but I can always unbutton my pants.

    1. That is why elastic waist bands were invented.

  10. "We aren't stuck with our leaders, we just have to vote them out." You're wrong there. The system is set up so you sell bits of your self as you rise in the ranks. You may start put with the best of intentions but in the end find you life is made of compromise. I had the. opportunity to be involved at the local level and deviled after seeing how seedy it was even at the lowest level of government.


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