THE BLOG
11/22/2014 09:02 am ET Updated Jan 22, 2015

Thanksgiving and Political Correctness

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The Motion Picture Association of America rates movies to provide viewers with advance information about the content of films. If asked to rate this blog, I would say it is not "politically correct." Having been reared in a small town in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri during World War II and immediately following, I firmly believe there are some things we need to be reminded of as we prepare for Thanksgiving 2014, even if it means being politically incorrect. Bear with me for four paragraphs, and you will see what I mean.

In the business world, "mergers" and "acquisitions" are quite common. Whether it is called a merger or an acquisition, it usually involves a larger company with deep pockets buying a smaller company that has been very successful. "Hostile" takeovers make for good headlines, but, as one business executive pointed out to me, hostile takeovers are few and far between; even if they start out being unfriendly, more money suddenly makes the merger or acquisition very friendly.

The general idea behind such transactions is creating synergies -- that by consolidating the resources of two companies, the one company will become more efficient and more profitable. For example, you would need only one purchasing department instead of two; one warehouse instead of two; one sales force instead of two; fewer employees and less office space; fewer highly paid executives; and so forth.

Many times this turns out good for the owners and stockholders of both companies. But it is quite common that the two companies do not mesh well, and instead of the merger adding to the bottom line, it erodes the profit margin. What went wrong? It can usually be traced to "corporate arrogance" -- rather than taking the time and making the effort to understand what made the company just acquired so successful, the senior officers of the purchasing company immediately begin to change and dismantle what they just purchased.

Sometimes when the new company realizes its mistake and tries to recapture the overall culture of the profitable company it purchased, it's too late. After years of struggling to make the merger profitable, parts of the new company have been spun off or discontinued, and what was purchased is completely lost.

By now you may be thinking, "What does all of this have to do with Thanksgiving?"

Every day the media make us aware of another school, or another town, or a country that finds fault with mentioning God and the Holy Bible. Students, even those who want to, are not allowed to pray on school property. Governmental agencies are not allowed to open or close their meetings with prayer. Last week, we learned of a school district in Maryland that will continue to have days off for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they will only be referred to as school holidays -- not Thanksgiving or Christmas vacations.

It came about, as I understand it, because a student who does not practice Judaism or Christianity complained that the school system officially celebrates religious holidays that have their roots in the biblical religions, but that she would have to miss class days to celebrate her religion. So the school board decided to continue with Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations, but not allow any reference to their religious significance. The chairman of the school board admitted that the board's action pleased no one: the one student doesn't get a declared school vacation for her religious holidays and other parents, staff and students are deprived of "officially" observing the well-established traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas. If we are not careful, the United States will become like the purchasing company that so erodes the original culture of greatness that it will not be possible to recapture it.

I never cease to be amazed at the number of people from other countries who want to come to the United States because they believe it will be such a good place to live. One presumes that they think they will be happier and have more opportunity in the United States than in their home country. But when they get here, they want to make the United States more like their home country. Doing this, of course, defeats the very reason for their wanting to come to the United States. They hear it will be a great place to live and they make all kinds of sacrifices to get here, but they have no real understanding of the history and culture of the United States -- of what makes it different from other countries in the world, of what has made it so successful.

This has nothing to do with today's arguments between the Democrats and Republicans about immigration reform. I am a firm believer that one of the things that has made the United States so successful is that we are a "melting pot" of the world's cultures. We have grown from a few settlers primarily of English background to a county of rich diversity. But though the years, as we have made changes and adopted new ways and ideas that have made us stronger, we have kept our basic culture -- the changes have not eroded the very nature of who and what the United States is.

Like it or not, the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and principles: God; the Holy Bible; religious holidays; respect for Judaism and Christianity; freedom of religion and separation of church and state; patriotism; respect for the United States Constitution and the American flag; respect for one another, for law enforcement, and for the judicial system; belief in independence and self-reliance; upholding the need to take care of those who are unable to care for themselves, but the expectation of all others demonstrating a strong work ethic. I mention only a few of what I believe to be the core elements of our culture; you can fill in many others. It is these core elements of our culture that have made this country so unique, different, and successful.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated by Native Americans, Christians, Jews, and whoever else wants to since 1621, and I firmly believe we should continue unapologetically to celebrate giving thanks to God Almighty for our many blessings.