This Thanksgiving, pray to heal America from several epidemics

As we approach Thanksgiving, it’s customary to look back on the preceding year. It’s a chance to consider the good and the bad, and to identify where we can make improvements in our lives. There are no obstacles that we can’t conquer if we have faith, love, an open mind, and perhaps the assistance of friends, colleagues or family.  

By every objective metric, 2021 has been a roller-coaster year. The year began much like the previous one, with most of the country remaining under lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, with the certification of the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 demonstrations at the Capitol, the culmination of four years of intensive politics reached its apex just after the new year began. Indeed, when Joe Biden was sworn in as president he assumed command of a country in shambles. One sincerely hoped he could make a difference for the better — and we’ll see. Patience is essential, of course.  

For many, it seems, their aspirations have been dashed continually by our new president, and his approval ratings have plummeted. Inflation is at a 31-year high, emptying the pockets of millions of Americans; prices for practically all necessary commodities have increased, and continue to rise. Food for our families and our pets, gasoline, utilities and more have risen in price dramatically, but most people’s earnings have remained unchanged or, in some cases, even decreased. 

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Meanwhile, the country faces a severe labor shortage, with millions of people simply refusing to return to work. People have discovered that it pays better to not work and instead collect government checks as a result of the extravagant stimulus packages that continued under the Biden administration. In some cases, businesses are closing because they lack employees. 

On the other hand, some Americans consider President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE to be a role model, still a beacon of hope and a leader who is ready and willing to mend our political divisions and lift us out of the abyss into which we settled because of the pandemic and election morass. Whatever your political views, this Thanksgiving — like all Thanksgivings — should be free of provocative political speech and incendiary political stories. 

Thanksgiving is a day for family and friends to gather together, not to stay apart. Particularly with the suffering we have endured for the past two years, we should all be grateful just to be able to be with one another. 

COVID-19 was the black swan event of 2020 and we hoped the virus would be abated as we approached 2021. Yet, despite Biden’s inheriting vaccines able to prevent infections and to slow the rate of COVID deaths, during the pandemic a new issue arose: the opioid crisis intensified. The surge in drug overdoses, especially among our young people, is arguably more concerning than the deaths from COVID-19. More than 100,000 Americans have died as a result of drug usage so far in 2021. This far-reaching epidemic affects millions of people, regardless of their race, religion, gender or income. Many of our children have become hooked on opioids, which change their brain’s chemical composition and place them potentially on a path to early death. 

So, this year we must remember the many families who will be missing loved ones at Thanksgiving, lost to either COVID-19 or the opioid crisis.    

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Other “epidemics” have arisen that also should be cause for great concern. While the U.S. population is dwindling, illegal immigrants from South America are quickly replenishing our numbers. President Biden, who ran on a platform of opening America’s borders, has kept his word in that regard. Every month, tens of thousands of people enter the nation illegally, and our border agents have no means of stopping them. Many of those who are apprehended are allowed to remain in the country and do not appear in immigration court. The record number of migrants is a looming problem for Biden, who must find a solution — quickly.

As we near the end of the year, I urge my fellow Americans to work together to overcome the ugly partisanship in which many have indulged. Let’s find common ground. We should heed the words of George Washington when he declared the first day of Thanksgiving and prayer in 1789, urging people to thank God especially for “affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Surely, the day was not designated for getting tipsy and eating turkey, as many Americans may think today. In truth, Thanksgiving is a day to express gratitude to the Lord for the benefits He has bestowed upon us. I hope that internalizing that message allows us to see that there is more to life than arguing and dragging others down. Our mission should be to improve the world around us so that future generations have an even better place to live. For this Thanksgiving, that is my prayer. 

Armstrong Williams (@ARightSide) is the owner and manager of Howard Stirk Holdings I & II Broadcast Television Stations and the 2016 Multicultural Media Broadcast Owner of the Year. He is the author of “Reawakening Virtues.”