First thing, first. Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope it was truly a day of optimism and hope for each of you. This is certainly a time to review the good things we each have in life.
Times spent with Family, Friends, and Good Food, form the basic fabric we call Life and History. Individual Happiness is woven from such threads. And goodness knows, we could all use just a little more Happiness in life.
Since it is a “slow news” day in terms of campaign activities, I thought I'd take a retrospective look at of some of the many things John Edwards has said he is thankful for. Please take a few moments to reflect on these, and you may find you have similar “blessings” in your life, that you are thankful for, too.
In Honor Of Thanksgiving, Edwards Gives Thanks To American Families
For two parents who worked so hard to give us a better life.
For thirty years with one amazing woman.
And for four wonderful children.
For 231 years of America.
For the hopes and determination of a nation filled with the most optimistic people on Earth.
And for all of you, who have welcomed us into your homes and hearts.
Thread (1) For two parents who worked so hard to give us a better life.
Edwards’ parents, Wallace Edwards and Bobbie Wade, were both working in the mill when they met at a square dance at a nearby state park. They married in 1952 and settled into a three-room rental in Utica Mill Village.
Edwards’ first home may be the perfect campaign prop in his quest for the presidency — the modern equivalent of the log cabin. Earlier this summer, Edwards and his parents stood outside the mill village house and took questions from reporters.
“We didn’t know any better than this was good,” said Wallace Edwards. “We had the basics, food and clothes.”
Their first child, Johnny, was born in 1953, his father taking out a $50 bank loan to pay the hospital bill. Six months later, Bobbie was back at work folding sheets on the night shift at J.P. Stevens. Wallace, who worked the day shift, took care of their son in the evenings.
They lived briefly in a public housing project, but things soon got better for the young family.
Wallace spent most of his career with Milliken & Co., a huge textile operation based in Spartanburg. He was transferred from town to town in the textile belt as he got increasingly better jobs in the industrial engineering department.
His father eventually left Milliken, frustrated that he could not advance further in the company because he had not attended college. He set up his own consulting firm advising textile companies.
His mother held a series of jobs, including starting a small roadside antiques store where she bought furniture, refinished it and sold it to help put her son through college. She worked for the county board of elections. She took her last job, as a rural letter carrier in West End, to provide her family with health insurance.
Many, many hard working Americas can relate. Life is often a struggle to just get by. Still the American Spirit and the will of its People is Strong.
We persevere, always hoping Our children will have a better life than we have.
That we will somehow leave the world a better place than we found it.
John's Campaign is all about these themes.
John Edwards – America's Jobs and America's Wokers
New York Times has a wonderful photo essay, which highlight the Milestones of John Edwards' life, including his humble beginnings.
New York Times – Nov 20, 2007
Milestones: John Edwards
An interactive timeline of John Edwards’s life and career.
Edwards is truly a self-made man (with much love and support from his family of course!)
Thread (2) For thirty years with one amazing woman.
Here's what John says about this amazing woman, Elizabeth
“She's the most extraordinary person I've ever known. I call her my conscience,” John says. “She knows intuitively the difference between right and wrong. She seems to have an understanding of what to say and what's real and what's not. She is an extraordinary woman.”
She IS Extraordinary! Here she is, discussing their life together:
John and Elizabeth Edwards
Elizabeth is truly is a self-made woman, a full partner in their Life and Marriage.
Thread (3) And for four wonderful children.
and here is son Wade, who's life was tragically cut short by an automobile accident, in 1996, at the age of 16.
Needlessly to say such a tragedy is the worse thing that a family can suffer. Parents are not suppose to outlive their children. Such a pain can change those impacted in deep and profound ways. The Edwards' family, being human, were also deeply effected.
Here another wonderful interview and photo-essay with the Edwardses on Oprah discussing how the family was changed:
Surviving Wade — Elizabeth Edwards on Oprah
Elizabeth says that even though she'll never understand the “why” of Wade's death she has made peace with God. “My daily prayer is that I have enough faith that I will one day be reunited with him.”
Another “enormous” comfort for the family was Wade's personal journal, which Elizabeth found after his death. In it he wrote, “I really want to do something great with my life. I want to start a family when I grow up. I'm going to be as good a parent to my kids as my parents are to me. But more than anything, when I die, I want to be able to say that I had a great life. So far, I've had a wonderful life. And I hope it keeps up.”
For Elizabeth, finding out she had breast cancer wasn't “overwhelmingly devastating” because, unlike Wade who was killed instantly, she says she had a chance to fight.
After the tragic loss of a child many marriages struggle, some leading to divorce. John Edwards says through their grief, his relationship with Elizabeth got stronger. “She's the most extraordinary person I've ever known. I call her my conscience,” John says …
Many families have faced such tragedy. Life has its share of pain, for all of us. Not all us us come through these events as positive and hopeful as the Edwards' have, though. Their strength and moral compass, is truly an inspiration to many.
Thread (4) For 231 years of America.
OK, what happened 231 years ago, I give up?
2007 – 231 = 1776
OK, wasn't that when Thomas Jefferson set pen to paper, which set in motion, one of the greatest democracy this world has ever seen? You bet it was.
We enjoy so many freedoms still today, due the insight and courage and perseverance of the 'founding fathers' of this great Nation, called America!
The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America:
Here are a few highlights, though I recommend anyone that still loves this country, to actually sit down and read it sometime, to try to understand the foundation on which our freedoms are built:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary
for one people to dissolve the political bands
which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the powers of the earth,
the separate and equal station
to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them,
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
–That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,
it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,
and to institute new Government,
laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form,
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress
in the most humble terms:
Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America,
in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge
of the world for the rectitude of our intentions,
do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,
That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be
Free and Independent States;
that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown,
and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;
and that as Free and Independent States,
they have full Power to levy War,
and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States
may of right do.
And for the support of this Declaration,
with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,
we mutually pledge to each other our Lives,
our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
I for one, am also thankful our Country was built on the Courage and Vision of such Leaders — who indeed were NOT afraid to do the Right thing, and to LEAD!
Thread (5) For the hopes and determination of a nation filled with the most optimistic people on Earth.
The American People are not afraid of hard work. We are not afraid of Sacrifice. But we are fearful that our wonderful democracy, and its many freedoms are being literally given away to the highest bidder. We are worried that the country we grew up in where 'Hard Work meant achieving the America Dream' — that 'that Country' could some day soon be a thing past. (Especially, if we stay on the “Business as Usual” path.)
Americans are not afraid of Hard Work, it's just that our work so often does not accomplish what it use to. Hear why a few of those Americans are counting on Edwards to listen and help:
John Edwards – Real Change for America
Most Americans, see what has happened recently to this Country we love, and we want change:
Overwhelmingly, Democrats want a new direction, but so do three-quarters of independents and even half of Republicans. Sixty percent of all Americans said they feel strongly that such a change is needed after two terms of the Bush presidency.
Most Democrats Express Decided “Preference for Change Over Experience” — 73% favor presidential candidate who strongly desires to change Washington, in this recent Gallup poll.
JFK appealed to American Optimism, it is time for such Leadership again.
Be Thankful for American Optimism
John F. Kennedy spoke of American optimism, and our ability to invent and solve great problems. For Americans to solve our current multifaceted sets of problems we must reclaim the 'can do' spirit JFK described.
“The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.”
Thread (6) And for all of you, who have welcomed us into your homes and hearts.
John Edward loves to meet with WE the People, to hear our concerns, to connect in a real way. He does not turn away from the questions of People. John and Elizabeth are welcomed into the Homes and the Hearts, of many hopeful Americans all around the Country. The Edwards' ARE fighting for US, and to many, many People, that distinction really matters!
Fighting for One America – Rewarding Work
John Edwards – Strength of America
Thread (7) Thank you.
John Edwards wants the honor and privilege to restore America to its potential and to its historic legacy. John and Elizabeth are fighting for causes truly “bigger than themselves”. Personally, I have no doubt, they will not let us down, if we trust them with this awesome responsibility.
More Edwards Campaign Clips:
Edwards On the Issues:
And thanks everyone for stopping by for this special Holiday Edition of EENR!
Me? I'm still thankful we have time to fix this Country that we love. But I worry that we may let the opportunity for Real Change, slip by, once again … a road untaken.
IMHO, America cannot afford anymore wrong turns.