(AFP/Getty Images / Associated…)
WASHINGTON -- It may be a “day full of family and friends, food and football,” in the words of President Obama, but Thanksgiving is not exempt from political discourse, with the president and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) offering varied viewpoints on the importance of the holiday.
Obama’s Thanksgiving address focuses on “perspective,” both in the context of Americans needing to reflect on a shared greater good, and the need to share in the benefits that good may have brought on an individual basis.
“We’re also grateful that this country has always been home to Americans who see these blessings not simply as gifts to enjoy, but as opportunities to give back,” Obama said. “Americans who believe we have a responsibility to look out for those less fortunate -- to pull each other up and move forward together.”
Obama pointed to the wreckage left by Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast -- the ruined homes and displaced families.
“In the midst of so much tragedy, there are also glimmers of hope,” he said, citing the actions taken by FEMA and the National Guard along with individual moments of charity: Volunteers and neighbors sharing whatever time and goods they could spare to assist those in need.
“As Americans, we are a bold, generous, big-hearted people. When our brothers and sisters are in need, we roll up our sleeves and get to work -- not for the recognition or the reward, but because it’s the right thing to do,” Obama said.
McMorris Rodgers, who was recently voted conference chairman, the No. 4 position in the House Republican leadership, delivered her party’s address. Framing it against the background of continued economic difficulties across the country, she called for action to be taken on the immediate crisis in need of bipartisan effort: the so-called fiscal cliff.
“This is certainly a time of testing for our country. A hard-fought campaign has just come to a close. Far too many Americans remain out of work. Our national debt exceeds the size of the economy and threatens to derail our children’s future,” McMorris Rodgers said. “As a mother of two young children, this is a constant worry, as is the cost of gas and groceries.”
Citing a “spirit of service and optimism,” she placed the onus on Obama, with her party “ready and eager to work” toward a fiscal cliff solution.
“Republicans have reached out to President Obama in the hope of working together to help our economy grow and solve the debt that threatens our children’s future,” McMorris Rodgers said. “Republicans believe this is an opportunity to finally solve problems that Washington has ignored for too long, whether it’s a tax code that’s too costly and complicated or entitlement programs that are on the path to bankruptcy.”