Coolidge’s Almanack

Here’s a thought for this Thanksgiving day, offered by Calvin
Coolidge on this date seventy eight years ago:
“If at any time our rewards have seemed meager, we should
find our justification for Thanksgiving by carefully comparing
what we have with what we deserve.”
Calvin’s observation raises the intriguing question of ‘what
we deserve.” In this day and age we take for granted living
in a country of freedom and opportunity, liberty and order,
and, despite the current economic crash, unprecedented
prosperity. What have we done to deserve this?
Well, you and I may not have done a lot to deserve this, but
our ancestors of ten generations struggled and sacrificed
for three hundred years to produce the America we enjoy
today. We ought to be giving them a silent thank you on this
day of Thanksgiving, and make up our minds to improve on
that legacy for benefit of our own children and grandchildren.
The quotation, incidentally comes from a very readable new
book,
Silent Cal’s Almanack, the Homespun wit and
wisdom of Vermont’s Calvin Coolidge. It’s by David
Pietrusza, and you can get it at your bookstore or online.
Here’s another Coolidge maxim for the next legislature to
keep in mind:
"The property of the people belongs to the people. To take it
from them by taxation cannot be justified except by urgent
public necessity. Unless this principle be recognized our
country is no longer secure, our people no longer free.”
This is John McClaughry–thanks for listening.

Delivered on WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont,
Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2008

John McClaughry has been President of the Ethan
Allen Institute since its founding in 1993. He was
Legislative Aide to Vermont Senator Winston Prouty,
1965-67; a Fellow of the Institute of Politics, JFK
School, Harvard University, 1967-68; a member of the
Vermont House, 1969-72; Senior Policy Advisor in
President Ronald Reagan's White House Office of
Policy Development, 1981-82; member of the Vermont
Senate 1989-92; and Republican candidate for
Governor of Vermont, 1992. He has served on four
Presidential Commissions by appointment of
Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Reagan, and has been
Kirby Town Moderator for the past 42 years.