November 26, 2020
By Victor Riches
Over 150 years ago, with the Civil War raging and America deeply divided, President Abraham Lincoln set pen to paper and proclaimed the last Thursday of November to be a national day of Thanksgiving. Even as our country struggled through one of its darkest hours, President Lincoln had the prescience to call on the nation to pause and give thanks for “the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”
Today, during another period of strife and division, it’s important to not only be thankful for the blessings of liberty, but to remember how fragile our freedoms really are. In the wake of government overreach during the COVID crisis, it’s not easy to find gratefulness within. Having our freedoms restricted should remind us all how precious the gift of freedom really is, and how important it is not to take that gift for granted. We must use these times to not only recommit ourselves to defending liberty, but also to consider the work that still needs to be done to advance the cause of freedom.
As we await the arrival of a COVID vaccine, patients need to be at the center of their own healthcare decisions—ensuring that they and their doctors can make treatment choices free from bureaucratic interference. We must eliminate roadblocks to healthcare and make it easier for patients to obtain needed treatments.
Equally important, we need to ensure students receive the best possible education, especially in the face of significant hurdles. Education unions and their allies continue to place obstacles in the path of students and families. Despite these efforts, we’ve been extremely successful in giving students as many educational options as possible. Today, those options are more important than ever. After all, the best thing we can do to ensure students not fall behind during the pandemic is give them the flexibility to construct a learning environment that best fits their own unique needs.
Although many policymakers seem intent on making earning a living more difficult than ever, now is not the time for more regulations. In fact, such economic burdens only serve to weaken our already fragile economy. Instead, we need to eliminate licensing requirements, cut taxes, and shrink government—all of which will promote economic growth and entrepreneurship. The last thing we need at a time like this is to have additional economic barriers standing in the way of Americans working and earning a living.
With your support, the Goldwater Institute will continue securing these and other freedoms in capitols and courtrooms across the country. Though our Thanksgiving this year may not be ideal, we still need to push forward, advancing the cause of liberty at every opportunity. In doing so, we will ensure we live in a country that lives up to the ideals of our Founders—in which the freedoms of all Americans are secure. At the Goldwater Institute, we are deeply thankful for your friendship and support—we couldn’t do it without you.
Happy Thanksgiving, and I wish you and your family a holiday season full of peace, good health, and, of course, freedom.
Victor Riches is the President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute.