As I reflect on last year’s Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of how blessed we are to live in the greatest country this world has ever known. There has never been a country that offers its citizens so much opportunity — so much freedom — to reach the potential that God has given each of us. We have the freedom to raise our families as we believe fit, invest in our neighborhoods, start jobs, start businesses, own property and more. Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. It is everything our founders hoped America would be.

Doyle Beck

Doyle Beck

But as I look around, I know that the freedom I enjoy, that my parents enjoyed, the gifts that this country has given me might not survive another generation. It’s not just the fact that so many people have abandoned the very notion of freedom for a false sense of security as a result of the novel coronavirus. It’s not just the fact that so many elected officials in local, state and national government have ordered or supported mandatory business closures, mass lockdowns and mask mandates. It’s not just the fact that so many people have gone right along with it, never once questioning how members of a “free” society can be ordered around so easily when limited government is at the heart of how this country operates.

It is equally worrisome to me that so many young people refuse to celebrate Independence Day and Thanksgiving because they don’t see the value in our country and its enduring promises that were conceived in liberty. Some of these teenagers and young adults have joined the masses of rioters and looters, who see America as nothing more than a land of racists with a shameful history. They see themselves as modern-day liberators, whose duty now is to free their fellow citizens from centuries of capitalist, patriarchal oppression. Now, why would they believe such a thing?

Perhaps it’s because that’s what they’ve been taught in our public schools, where labor unions set the agenda and teach a biased worldview. Maybe it’s because after our kids have completed their public education, they’re enrolled in our universities where they are then given a dose more “learning” from leftists professors, who shape young minds’ and their hatred of the United States with seemingly marketable solutions like marxism, socialism and communism. No one should be surprised that the failure to expose our values to the hearts and minds of generations of schoolchildren has given us this result. The open hostility to private property rights, wealth creation, individual responsibility and other principles that are foundational to our country is frightening.

These youngsters — our youngsters — are told they can right the wrongs of the past by disavowing our customs and traditions, our celebrations like Thanksgiving. That’s why I think it is important, right here and now, to do something purposeful this year at Thanksgiving dinners throughout Idaho and the United States: When it comes time to go around the table and ask, as many families do, what it is we’re thankful for, it’s up to all of us to include that we live in a free country, among free people, and that freedom has helped lift people up from poverty, has fed the hungry, clothed the cold, given jobs and houses and comforts to people with seemingly no opportunity and no future. In America, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

For me, Thanksgiving is every day. I thank God for our blessings, which is more than I can count.

Doyle Beck is the Legislative District 30 chairman of the Idaho Republican Party.