Friday, November 20, 2015

A Thanksgiving message from Congressman Cleaver

(From Fifth District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver)

This week, I would like to simply send to you a Thanksgiving Day message. It is critical in today’s technology focused and fast paced society to stop for a moment to take a deep breath, to think, and to give genuine thanks for our family, our friends and those we love. We are living in a time where fighting and disagreement seem to be at an all-time high, both in our nation’s capital and around the world, from Paris to Syria to Beirut and Mali. It is a time of great uncertainty. Good and hard-working families stay awake at night wondering what the next day will bring. It is a time when we legitimately wonder if elected leaders will have the strength and fortitude to lead our country and our communities in the right direction. But we must also remember it is still a time to reflect on what we do have. It is easy to miss the big picture because of all of the chaos, clutter and noise of the moment.

I am keenly aware that there is much work to be done, in our District and in our country. As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to protect the American people. The Paris attacks give searing urgency to that responsibility – and we will do everything it takes to keep our country safe.

This Thanksgiving I plan to sit down alone for a few minutes and simply give thanks. I thank God for my wife, who is not only the love of my life, but my friend and my soulmate. The love and admiration I have for my four children is unmatched by any emotion I have ever felt. My grandchildren can do no wrong. I am thankful for all of the friends in my life, from my church, my community and my District. These people care for me as a person, not a politician. I cherish my friends in Congress, on both sides of the aisle. These are friends I will feel connected to for the duration of my life.

For all of the constituents in the Fifth District, I give thanks. Not just those who agree with a certain political agenda, but for all of us. We are fortunate to live in a country where disagreement and dissent are not only accepted but encouraged. I have always believed the most effective way of communication and behavior is through civil and respectful treatment of others. I hope we, as elected leaders, will work harder to model this behavior. I am thankful each day to have the trust, the opportunity and the good health to work for you. Working for you, remains, as always, a promise I will believe in and will keep. So this Thanksgiving, we have much to think about. My wish for you is a moment of time: time to think about what you are thankful for, and how you can share that thankfulness. W. Clement Stone once said, “If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” My hope is that your list of what you’re thankful for is a long and happy one.

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