When Utahns and other Americans gather around Thanksgiving tables this Thursday, it will be with the usual sense of gratitude for the abundance and opportunity this nation can provide. And that is as it should be, for there is much to celebrate.
First of all, most can be thankful that an election was held this month, finally marking the end of political campaigns that seemed to last forever. For a little while at least, political peace has descended on the land.In a less frivolous tone, Utahns can be thankful for a world that seems less warlike than last year, for national prosperity, low unemployment, and a relative sense of wealth compared to most places in the world. By most measures, America remains the promised land.
Closer to home, First Security Corp. reports that Utah's economy is on the upswing while, paradoxically, the Wasatch Front is having an average drop in prices - deflation instead of inflation. This amounts to having the best of both possible fiscal worlds at the same time.
And the Thanksgiving holiday itself is a boost to the state's economy. The small town of Moroni, the turkey capital of Utah, will ship more than 66 million pounds of turkey nationwide, an increase of about 1.5 million pounds over last year.
Yet while surrounding a Thanksgiving feast, Utahns ought to feel a sense of unease as well. The very sight of so much abundance should be a reminder that hunger stalks many parts of the world, that pestilence and death and suffering are still the lot of too many people.
Some of that suffering is in our own midst. The homeless, the elderly poor, the children in disadvantaged homes, the troubled, the sick in body and spirit, are never far from our own doors.
Utahns can be generous. A new $4 million Salt Lake homeless shelter will open its doors after Thanksgiving. A Boy Scout food drive last week hoped to double the 60 tons of foodstuffs collected in 1987. Sponsors were stunned by a response that produced nearly 500 tons.
But as people pause in family circles and view the traditional turkey and a bountiful array of other dishes - a preliminary to probably eating too much - we ought to be reminded that compared to what we have, most of us undoubtedly could do a lot more for our fellow man.
The best Thanksgiving is not one that is the biggest feast, but one that allows us to be grateful for what we have been able to give to others.