Only in America: Thanksgiving reflections of an Irishman

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On Thursday, America celebrates Thanksgiving - a time when families spend hours and sometimes days cooking every delicious food known to man, a time when y'all sit around a table with the family you love and the family you tolerate – and you pray a political argument does not start before saying grace. After food, it will likely be time for the main event – watching your favorite sport on your 42 inch TV and having leftovers.

America you truly have traveled a long way since the Mayflower pilgrims landed on your shores 398 years ago. Those pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621 because of a successful harvest and celebrated the second one in 1623 because of the rain after a long drought. (Can you imagine ever being so thankful for rain, that you would celebrate it?).

Before you enjoy your family time, I think it is critical to reflect on some of the miracles we see in our world every day, that we may take for granted.

Earth & Mother Nature

In this world of instant gratification, we take so many things for granted and just expect things to happen like it is routine. We expect the sun to rise in the east and set in the west – but have you ever looked at our planet and be in complete awe?

  • Have you ever thought about how our planet is constantly rotating inside a system of other planets that also rotate around each other and yet we never collide?
  • Ever thought about the miracle of us simply being able to walk around - our planet is constantly traveling around 1000 miles an hour and yet we never fall or lose balance?
  • Ever thought about the miracle of rain? We live in an atmosphere that collects moisture from our planet which then resides in the clouds in the sky and then is released when they collide.
  • Have you ever looked at the beauty of our planet and feel like it is an artist canvas? Whether it is the slopes, the different colors in trees, plants or grass or simply the amazing sky filled with so much character?
  • Ever thought about the miracle of farming and growing the crops we eat? The fact we can plant a seed in the soil, water it, look after it and it grows and then we eat it when it fully matures?

Standard of Living

We have also been blessed to see incredible man-made advancements over the last 10, 20 and 100 years that we should be thankful for. I am in my mid-thirties so let's compare the standard of living from when I was growing up and look at the advancements to today.

Food

Let's start with my favorite advancements. Have you noticed the increase in choices of food available to you? When we were growing up some produce was seasonal - today you can buy food at any time of the year as food comes from around the globe.

In our local supermarket, they regularly have promotions with food from other cultures around the world - they have French week, Spanish week, American week etc. If you like food from a different culture, you can get it most of the year now.

Entertainment

Have you noticed how easy it is to entertain yourself today and the standard of that entertainment? When we were growing up, we would go outside and entertain ourselves by playing soccer or some other game and when it was dark we would come inside and go to bed. On rainy days, we could sit inside and play board games or watch the one TV in the household which only had 6 stations and was about 3 foot deep. If you wanted to watch a programme at a certain time you had to watch live, and if someone else in your family wanted to watch something at the same time, YOU HAD TO COMPROMISE - or if it was your parents, you watched what they wanted.

Today we entertain ourselves by playing video games from the comfort of our own chair on the X-Box or PlayStation. We can watch live TV, or we can watch on demand on our flat-screen which likely have 100's of stations. If that was not enough we likely have more than one TV so there is no need for compromise and we have the added benefits of apps where we can stream and binge watch shows on platforms like Netflix or Amazon that we can even watch on our phones or tablets.

Technology

Phones

Do you remember the phone you grew up with? There was usually one phone in the house, it was centrally located, you had zero privacy, you actually had to answer the phone to see who was calling, and the most horrific thing about the phone - it only had one function, to make and receive phone calls.

Today people use cell phones and we all have one of our own. We can walk and talk, have complete privacy *(apart from the NSA), we can call screen and decide if we actually want to talk to the person calling. Today we can do a lot more on our phones including texting, email, take pictures, look at the internet, go onto social media, listen to radio or podcasts, watch videos, listen to music and play games. Today we have more power and access to more information with our phones than Bill Clinton had when he was President of the United States.

Computers

Do you remember your first computer? I do. It was big, bulky, slow and could only do a few things on it. It had Microsoft word, excel, dial-up internet, and two games - solitaire and minesweeper. When we wanted to use it, it took forever to load.

Today computers are smaller, faster with Wi-Fi broadband and extremely fast. We also have laptops which today can do more than at any point in human history. We have cloud technology which connects everyone. I am blessed to do a show on the Blaze and each week I am amazed at what we can do. Every Thursday I sit in my office in Ireland and use a free app on my PC, record my show, upload it to the cloud which takes seconds and I can email my producer Kris (who is nearly 5000 miles away) the details and he can instantly access and download my recordings. He then edits my show, (hopefully makes me sound better), uploads to all platforms and people can listen anywhere around the world.

Music

If you are under 21 today, you really don't understand the joy of music. I grew up in an era where we had to work hard to listen to our favorite songs. We had these things called cassette tapes and you had to rewind and fast forward several times to get to the exact point where your song started. If you wanted to repeat the song, you had to go thru the whole process again. I remember living thru the revolution of the Discman where music came on CD's that allowed you to skip to any song you wanted easily. Both of these are rarely seen today as they have been replaced by the iPod or streaming.

The other option was something we did every day after school - we would come home, put on a station that just played music called MTV (today you likely know MTV as the station where you watch 16 and pregnant or teen mom), and we would do our homework and wait until our favorite song came on.

Education

As impressive as the above are, I believe we have made the biggest improvements in education. Today there is no excuse for ignorance as you can teach yourself ANYTHING. If you wanted to be smart when I was growing up, you had to do really well in school, go to college and actually work hard. If you wanted to learn about a certain topic it required you to go to your library with all the nerds, look for books on the topic and go thru each book and learn about it.

Today you can educate yourself from the comfort of your own home. Is doing well in school still a positive thing? YES. But today you don't need to go to college to be smart. Colleges like MIT make all their courses available online for free. If you want to research something today, you don't need to go the local library, you can google and research it on the internet from the comfort of your living room or even on the toilet in complete privacy.

Today you also have access to more information, with the creation of companies like Amazon; you have access to more products than ever before. You can buy physical books in a used condition, you can buy books for your Kindle or if you are not the best reader you can buy audiobooks. The other advantage of these wonderful services is sometimes you can get access to free products. I am always searching Amazon and I purchased and downloaded 12 different books of writings by Edmund Burke for the grand total of ZERO dollars. Amazon also regularly has penguin classics like Moby Dick etc. for free.

Conclusion

Our world has changed dramatically for everyone in the last thirty years. With the advancements in technology, a lot of these products have become considerably cheaper over time which means any positive changes directly benefit EVERYONE in society and they can help empower people who come from poorer backgrounds.

Looking at all the advancements we have made, it would be very easy to simply celebrate material things. However, that is not the real miracle here. The real miracle is the environment needed to create these products and historically only America has truly ever understood this idea.

Man is meant to live free to pursue their own happiness, to be allowed to succeed or fail on their own merit and if they are successful to keep the fruits of their labor.

It is why the world changed and improved for the better when America was formed. If we share these principles again, just close your eyes and imagine what our world could look like in 5, 10 or 20 years.

Jonathon hosts a weekly one hour show exclusive to the Blaze Radio Network called Freedom's Disciple where he highlights the IDEA of America, promotes the eternal principles of freedom & and shares his passion of America's Founding documents. Please check out his show for FREE here.

Christmas has arrived early for mainstream media. They have their first sentencing of a major player in President Trump's inner circle. Yesterday, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced by a federal judge in Manhattan. How did it come to this and how did Cohen explain himself to the judge? We start there next…

President Trump's former attorney, 52-year-old Michael Cohen, is going to jail. Well, it will probably be one of those federal prison camps with a dorm that's more like a college campus. But he's going to be locked up. A federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison for financial crimes, and two months for lying to Congress. He also ordered Cohen to pay $2 million in financial penalties. The judge called Cohen's misdeeds a "veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct."

RELATED: Michael Cohen's plea deal won't lessen Trump's support. Here's why.

The judge said:

As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better. While Mr. Cohen is taking steps to mitigate his criminal conduct by pleading guilty and volunteering useful information to prosecutors, that does not wipe the slate clean.

Cohen pled guilty in August to eight criminal charges in two different cases. One brought by special counsel Robert Muller for Cohen's lying to Congress about a potential Trump Tower project in Moscow. The second was for bank-fraud, tax, and campaign finance violations brought by federal prosecutors in New York.

President Trump said recently that Cohen has simply been lying to get a reduced sentence for crimes that have nothing to do with him. Cohen was very emotional as he apologized to the judge, saying:

It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light. Time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass.

The left thinks that Cohen's sentencing marks the beginning of the end for Trump's presidency. They may be ultimately disappointed in that regard. But this does intensify the long national nightmare of the Muller investigation that seems to have no end in sight.

How long until we follow in Europe's footsteps?

JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE/AFP/Getty Images

Christmas should be a time of happiness and celebration the world over. But in Europe, it is now the season of terror. The sounds at Europe's famous Christmas Markets of "Merry Christmas!" and laughter are rapidly being replaced with the sounds of "Allahu Ackbar!" and gunfire. Two years ago ISIS attacked a Christmas Market in Berlin, killing twelve and injuring another forty-eight. And tragically, the sound of automatic gunfire and the chant of "Allahu Ackbar!" was heard at another Christmas Market in Europe yesterday afternoon… this time in France.

Two people are dead and thirteen are battling for their lives right now in Strasbourg, France. The attacker walked into the city's Christmas Market shortly after 8pm, shouted "Allahu Ackbar" and began shooting indiscriminately. He then proceeded to battle the police in four separate locations while he fled the scene. As of this moment, he still hasn't been caught. The city of Strasbourg is on full lockdown, and France's terror level has been elevated.

RELATED: Paris pandemonium: Here's what happens when people feel ignored

A man of Middle Eastern descent has been identified as the suspect. He was already on a terror watchlist and had been deported from Germany recently with twenty criminal convictions. He's well known in Islamist circles and was reportedly radicalized after spending time in prison. Apparently he was too radical for the Germans… but not for France.

What is it going to take for progressive governments like France to wake up to their failed policies? Nearly 300 people have been killed in terror attacks in France over the past three years. 300 in three years! But despite that, the French government refuses to address immigration, they continue their open border policy and - more importantly - they refuse to listen to their people when they try and tell them that they're scared to death over this issue. Instead they get a lecture on Islamophobia… "that's the real problem."

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime.

This is one of the reasons why the Yellow Vests are tearing the country apart. The government refuses to listen to their fears on terrorism, unchecked immigration, open borders, the failing economy, high taxes and out of control spending. Wow... do these issues sound at all familiar? How many years behind France are we? Just listen to ourselves.

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime. People have lost the ability to engage in peaceful protest. Street demonstrations have turned into street brawls. Have you seen the images from places like Portland lately? European governments are losing the social contract with their people. After years of broken promises and outright lies from Washington, how long before that happens here?