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Thankful for Thomas Jefferson's Trust

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Among other lessons, Thomas Jefferson taught that future leaders should trust the good judgment and common sense of the American people. He thought those qualities were the rudder that would keep the ship of state on its proper course. Of course he presumed our good judgment and common sense were underwritten by a press protected by the First Amendment that would do its job of informing the people about their public business and by elected officials committed to honesty and candor.

In the period between the spring of 2002 and sometime within the past year or so, some of us lost confidence in the good judgment and common sense of the American people when a majority re-elected a president who had either made a huge mistake in trusting massively faulty intelligence or had purposely and consciously misled us. For the first time in my life I began to question Jefferson's assurances and to fear that we were in the process of becoming a fundamentally different country.

But, true to his admonition, a very large majority of Americans have now passed judgment, good judgment, on this president and are demonstrating common sense in concluding we have been led badly off course at home and abroad.

This Thanksgiving Day, among many, many blessings, I am most grateful for the restoration of American good judgment and common sense. This gratitude is qualified only by the thought that it has taken more than 30,000 American casualties to restore our true character and by the sober realization that the Democratic party now must demonstrate courage and conviction in designing a better course for America.

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