weather icon Clear

Americans have much to be thankful for

At the time I submitted this commentary, Election Day was almost a week away.

Most folks reading my column today have let out a sigh of relief and are thankful that this election cycle is over. I am also thankful, but for other reasons.

We celebrate the 243rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps on Nov. 10. For my Marine friends, I’ll see your “Oo-Rah” and raise you an Army “Hooah!” Semper Fidelis!

On Nov. 11, we celebrate Veterans Day, which is also the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. Happy Veterans Day to my brothers and sisters in arms who honorably served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. We sometimes call each other names: “dogface,” “jarhead,” “swabbie,” “zoomie” or “puddle pirate,” but we expect reciprocal abuse during this playful banter of interservice rivalry. (Warning: If you haven’t served, don’t utter these terms or you’ll witness interservice rivalry rapidly morph into a veteran-versus-nonveteran skirmish.)

You may thank a veteran for his or her service, but all of us have much to be grateful for during this season of Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for capitalism, because it fuels a prosperous economy that has brought us affordable luxuries, clean water and indoor plumbing.

I recently purchased a laser printer to replace my 14-year-old laser printer that seemed to be slowing down and making weird noises (total justification for buying a new one). The new printer is faster and has wireless connectivity. The old printer cost $80, which is about $110 in today’s dollars. My new one cost $95 with free shipping and handling.

I bought my first laser printer, a Packard Bell model weighing more than a small car, at the Munich, Germany, Post Exchange in 1991. It cost $995 — over $1,840 in today’s dollars. (I “needed” this new technology, of course, to help me write my résumé pending my Army retirement.)

Each printer was faster and better than the previous one and cost less. Why? Because capitalism provides the process and method to produce better goods at cheaper prices. If you purchased a large-screen TV five years ago and are in the market for a bigger one, you’ll notice the quality is much better and the price is much lower. Capitalism works regardless of the country of product origin.

Water and electricity are affordable and available because a capitalist system provides a standard of living that begets a utility to offer such services.

We often take many of these luxuries for granted. We are awakened by a sudden power outage, sometimes caused by an impaired driver striking a power box at 2 a.m., and become anxious if power isn’t restored within the hour. When you consider that more than 1 billion people in the world have little or no electricity, you appreciate what you have, and a three-hour outage doesn’t feel unreasonable.

During the aforementioned power outage, many of us take a trip to the bathroom. This, too, is a luxury when you consider that one-third of the world’s population (about 2.3 billion people) do not have a basic sanitary device such as a toilet. Almost a billion people have no access to clean water.

Being thankful for the small things motivates us to conquer bigger issues.

We thank the veterans for keeping our country free, often at great personal expense. Their sacrifice keeps the machine of our economy working. In turn, our lives improve, and we can help those who haven’t yet reaped the full benefits of capitalism.

This election cycle has raised incivility to an unheard of fever pitch. However, I pray that it will subside during the next election cycle. Most of us are kindhearted and forgiving, and I am thankful for that.

I am also thankful that our country reaches out to less fortunate countries and provides assistance with their water and sanitation needs. Overall, our country provides more assistance and accepts more immigrants that all of the other countries combined.

Our country has many chinks in its shiny armor wrought by the high and low points of our republic’s history: two wars with England, a Civil War, slavery, two World Wars, the Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars (and other conflicts in between), presidential assassinations, civil rights abuses and civil rights progress. When other countries would have easily capitulated, we did not. We are the best country in the world. Otherwise, why are people dying to get in?

I don’t wait for Thanksgiving to be grateful for being born an American; I thank God every day and know that, as long as we remain a God-fearing nation of laws, we will continue to prosper.

Dan Jennings is a retired Boulder City police sergeant, retired Army captain and former U.S. Army CID Special Agent. He received the Medal of Valor and Purple Heart for his actions as a deputy sheriff during an armed robbery in 1996. He can be reached at bcpd267@cox.net.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Get to know candidates before casting vote

Election Day for our local primary election will be April 6. Voting for this election will again have a mail-in ballot sent to every registered voter in Boulder City. Early voting in person will also be available. The early voting this year will be in the city recreation center next to City Hall for easier access.

In-person communication crucial to democracy

What is happening to Boulder City as well as America has parallels. Having been a member of City Council as well as the mayor for 12 years, I have some insights to offer.

Is mask mandate realistic?

We’ve all heard the term “Where’s the beef?” The new 2021 term should be “Where’s the data?” That’s right, the data. Many, espousing to be our leaders, have continually warned us about the steps required to stay healthy while navigating this pandemic. Mandates soon followed the warnings.

Truth will help reveal solutions to nation’s woes

How do you stay calm and limit your stress every day? Personally, I take lots of deep breaths, stop whatever I’m doing and focus on something else. I push what’s bothering me to another part of my brain and move on. It’s rough, but I’ve had practice over the years, and it works most of the time.

City clerk vital to election, transparency

Mayor (Kiernan) McManus is on a mission to destroy our city. He has scheduled an agenda item at the Feb. 23 City Council meeting to terminate City Clerk Lorene Krumm’s employment contract.

Historical ignorance ruining America

While stationed in West Germany in 1978, I visited Dachau, the site of a former Nazi concentration camp. My bride is of Jewish ancestry and chose not to accompany me. I am glad she stayed home. No history book or teacher can prepare you for such an experience. Suffice to say, the stench and ambience of death still lingered and are forever etched in my memory.

Look for the good

Last week I wrote about our nation having hope and needing healing. Based on comments I received on social media and email, I can see we have a long way to go — a very long way.

City makes progress vaccinating residents

I have heard the suggestion that we should give January of 2021 back to 2020 and start 2021 in this month of February as January presented so many of the same challenges we have had to confront. February does in fact hold promise for beginning the process of recovery from all the hardships and stress the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted on us.

Prioritize spending for public projects

How would you react if a store stocked merchandise few customers were interested in buying and those few customers who did buy were unwilling to pay the fully burdened price? Would you, a nonpurchaser, willingly subsidize stocking and distribution costs?

Hope returns to our nation

Last Wednesday morning I watched the inauguration of our nation’s 46th president, Joseph R. Biden, with tears in my eyes.