What if another Thanksgiving Day is upon us and because of the government we have less to be thankful for than we did at the last one? What if at every Thanksgiving liberty is weakened and the government is strengthened? What if Thanksgiving’s warm and breezy seduction of gratitude is just the government’s way of inducing us to think we should be grateful for it?
What if we don’t owe the government any thanks for anything? What if the government owes us back all the freedom and property it has stolen from us? What if the government has produced nothing and owns nothing, save what it has coerced us to give it? What if the courts have ruled that the government can lie and cheat with impunity in order to acquire our property or assault our freedoms?
What if the government lies and cheats regularly to enhance its own wealth and power? What if the government claims that its power comes from the consent of the governed? What if no one consented to the government’s spying and lying except those who personally and directly benefit from it?
What if the government is afraid to tell us all it is doing to us for fear we might vote it out of office? What if that vote would change nothing? What if the spying and lying continued no matter who ran the government? What if those who spy and lie don’t lose their jobs no matter how they lie or upon whom they spy or who gets elected?
What if this holiday of turkey and football and family is the modern-day version of bread and circuses? What if bread and circuses — which Roman emperors gave to the mobs to keep them sated — _are just the government’s way today of keeping us _sated at the end of every November? What if the government expects us to give thanks to it for letting us have Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday off?
What if the president thinks he’s a king? What if he claims the power to kill people outside the Constitution? What if some of these people were your sisters or neighbors or friends? What if he thinks he’s so smart that he knows what choices we should make? What if he makes those choices for us?
What if we each have the natural right to choose how to care for our own bodies, but he has used the coercive powers of the law to tell us how to do so? What if that law compelled all persons to pay for more health insurance than they needed or wanted or could afford? What if the president deceived dupes in Congress into voting for that law? What if the president deceived millions of Americans into supporting that law? What if the president forced you to pay for a health insurance policy that funded killing babies in their mothers’ wombs?
What if the president knows what you want and need because his spies have captured your every telephone call, text and email? What if the Declaration of Independence says that our rights are personal, inalienable and come from God? What if the Constitution says that among our inalienable rights are the right to be left alone and the right to be different?
What if the president took an oath to uphold the Declaration and the Constitution but believes in neither? What if he believes that our rights come from the collective consent of our neighbors, whom he can influence, or, worse yet, from the government, which he can control? What if he believes that he can invade our right to be left alone by spying on us and lying to us and destroy our right to be different by killing us? What if he actually did all these things?
What if only individuals foolish enough to do so give up their own rights but cannot give up the rights of those of us who refuse to surrender them? What if the government can only constitutionally take away personal freedoms when a jury has convicted someone of a crime? What if the government thinks it can take our rights away by ordinary legislation or by presidential fiat? What if it has done so?
What if someone who once worked for the government knew all this and risked life and limb to tell us about it? What if the government at first denied that it lies to and spies upon all Americans? What if it demonized the whistle blower? What if it chased him to the ends of the Earth because he revealed awful truths? What if everything Edward Snowden revealed about the government turned out to be true?
What if it is the personal courage and constitutional fidelity of Edward Snowden for which we should be thankful? What if the government hates and fears our freedoms just as it hates and fears the revelation of the awful truths Snowden possesses?
What if our thanks are due primarily to the Author of our freedoms, who made us in His image and likeness, and to those who have exercised those freedoms to seek and reveal the truth? What if it is the truth, and not the government, that will keep us free?
What if we have the right to pursue happiness no matter what the government says? What if we have the right to be unique no matter what the government wants? What if the freedom to seek the truth will bring us happiness?
What if that freedom which is still ours is a just cause for a happy Thanksgiving, after all?
Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.