Thanksgiving is a day to be grateful for our blessings—unlike wokeness, which seeks to make people ungrateful, says Delano Squires of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Life, Religion, and Family.   

“What [wokeness] ultimately ends up doing is making people ungrateful for the things they have. For whatever little we think we have … someone always has less and desires what we have,” Squires told Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts on “The Kevin Roberts Show” podcast’s Thanksgiving special featuring researchers and other experts at the Washington-based think tank. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.) 

The history of Thanksgiving changed when President George Washington recommended that people set aside a day to give thanks and reflect on the blessings that came to them, according to lawyer Christopher DeMuth.  

“Appreciating the great blessings of living in a great nation that had come through such terrible times and had achieved the beginning, at least, of a peaceful and successful nation,” explained DeMuth, a distinguished fellow with Heritage’s Simon Center for American Studies. 

“Gratitude is a choice … it is a deliberate decision to look at the bad, but then turn to the good, and sometimes, it is not easy and requires a great deal of strength,” said Brenda Hafera, assistant director of the Simon Center. 

But one way to be grateful is by studying history, and so when we undermine things like Thanksgiving and our history, we’re also undermining the virtue of gratitude, Hafera explained.  

Many of the Heritage colleagues Roberts spoke with shared the importance of faith when it comes to gratitude.   

“If you read any of the Thanksgiving proclamations, it all starts with giving thanks to God,” said Bridget Weisenburger, director of campaigns and partnerships for the think tank. “Gratitude is the starting place for self-government in America … but there is an understanding there is a Creator to whom things are owed, and out of His generosity we have what we have in America.”

A family says grace around a dinner table at Thanksgiving. (Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc./Getty Images)

“To keep holding on for a better tomorrow, to ask God for His blessing and His mercy, and it’s really a reminder that we only have the life we have and breath in our lungs because there’s a God who loves us,” said digital content producer Philip Reynolds.  

“We should focus on the positive, and you will find “even in the darkest times … the vast majority of things are actually pretty good, and they work pretty well. So, you can ignore the few problems around you and fixate on how much is good and how far you’ve come in your life,” said Richard Stern, director of Heritage’s Center for the Federal Budget.  

That’s contrary to leftism, which is an “ideology that fixates on what you’re not grateful for, fixates on what is wrong with the world, fixates on imperfections,” he explained.

But there’s still hope, he added, because “there is a new energy in this country despite the pessimism.” 

There’s an increasing determination energy to get back to our roots, to get back to our traditions, to refind that optimism that drove the United States and what drove the Pilgrims to come here.

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