11/26/2014 12:49 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2015

Why We Should Be Thankful This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is Thursday and as I was pondering all we really have to be thankful for, I find myself constantly diverted by the 24-hour news cycle which feasts on tragedy, turmoil and treachery rather than thankfulness.

Witness the following:

How can we be thankful when we are all focused on the tragedy, turmoil, and treachery in Ferguson, Missouri?

How can we be thankful when we are all focused on the tragedy, turmoil and treachery of ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

How can we be thankful when we are all focused on the tragedy, turmoil and treachery of gang rape at a major university?

How can we be thankful when we are all focused on athletes behaving badly, Mother Nature landing another snow punch at the Northeast and an immigration muddle that defies explanation?

I think we all need to take a step back and just look at some facts about where we are versus where we were in 2008...a short 6 years ago:

  • Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent ...this week it is 5.8 percent
  • The Dow fell to about 6,500 but closed yesterday at 17,800
  • There were some 10,000,000 home mortgage foreclosures in 2008/2010 while in the past 2 years that number has fallen to under 2 million
  • Real GDP/capita fell from 49,260 in 2007 to 46,795 in 2009 and has now rebounded to 49,811 in 2013
  • At the end of 2008 there were more than 200,000 American troops deployed to Iraq and there are fewer than 30,000
  • A gallon of gas peaked at just over $4 in 2011 but today is about $2.75 a gallon

It is time that we focused on why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Frankly we are the most fortunate people on earth. We have our problems, yes, but in the final analysis we have the freedom to do as we please, we have the freedom to learn and grow, we have the freedom to travel and move about, we have the freedom to raise our families in whatever religion or no religion we choose. I can assure you this is not the case elsewhere in the world. We are rich beyond what most people in the world can even imagine.

Consider these facts:

  • Almost 70 million school age children globally do not attend school and almost 60 percent are girls
  • Almost half of the world's population lives on less than $2.50 a day and about half of those live on about $1.00 per day
  • More than 1 billion people in the world lack fresh drinking water and almost 3 times that many have no formal sanitation system
  • Some 15 million girls are forced into marriage each year before they turn 15

And I could go on.

So as we come together for this Thanksgiving let us toss aside the news cycle for at least one day. Let us turn aside tragedy, turmoil and treachery in favor of trust, thankfulness and tenderness.

For at least one day let's celebrate our great good fortune and perhaps we can share some of that good fortune with those less fortunate than we are.

Consider doing so here: