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The Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Lame Ducks on Thursday's Menu

Well, it's that time again. It's time to pause and think of all the things for which we are truly grateful.

I would be remiss if I did not state, no matter how obvious, that for which I feel particularly thankful this year. And though I'm opposed to these as a rule, I'm willing to make an exception. Yes, that's right, this year I'm off-the-charts grateful for term limits!

I could go one step further and say that I wish everyone who had served in Congress over the last eight years and voted for the mess we find ourselves in was going to be gone, too, but it's Thanksgiving and I don't want to be grabby. I'll settle for being a glutton the traditional way. I'll just eat way too much.

Which reminds me of another thing for which I'm grateful; I can buy my own food. Now that may sound like a silly little thing - or even something that I should just expect to be able to do. But this year, even more so than past years, way too many Americans will be going to their local food pantry for their turkey and fixings because they suffer from "food insecurity."

"Food insecure" is the politically correct way in which we identify our fellow countrymen and women - and let us not forget their children - who are too poor to buy their own food. But this year, thanks to record drops in virtually every financial index, foreclosures and bank collapses, the shriveling of our reserves, record unemployment and underemployment in this country - it's all gotten a whole lot worse.

According to the 2008 Murrow Award-winning WTOP in Washington D.C., "Calls to the Capital Area Food Bank's Hunger Lifeline, an emergency food referral system in Washington D.C., increased 248 percent in the past six months."

Good gravy, that's right in the government's backyard!

I've got an idea: How about if our members of Congress and the entire White House staff take a hungry family in off the streets this holiday. And I'll make it really safe for them - in case they are worried that the poor can't be trusted - they only have to take veterans and families of veterans.

According to National Public Radio, "Veterans make up almost a quarter of the homeless population in the United States." And while the report did not state how many vets are just a few paychecks away from joining them, it did say that many of these veterans "have sacrificed their physical and mental well-being to serve their country. Today, they spend Veterans Day struggling to secure food and housing."

So how about it, lame ducks? Why not open your homes to those who have served in the hell of war while you served in the comfort of the White House?

Another thing for which I am infinitely grateful: Google. If it weren't for Google, I might not know what the fancy folks who run our country will be having for dinner on Thursday or which corporate felons our president pardoned on Monday. In fact, thanks to the marvels of the Internet, I can direct you to the drug dealers and government swindlers that the president spared (ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/081124/world/bushpardons) as easily as I can share the recipe for the first lady's Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes (whitehouse.gov/firstlady/recipes)

Well anyway, today's my birthday, so as usual, I'm grateful for another year. My kids will be with me and I can't describe how thankful that makes me feel.

Still, I can't help but swing back around to our veterans and their sacrifices. After all, if not for our soldiers, I might not have the freedom to criticize our government without being taken behind some building and shot.

I guess that's why bad government irks me so.

Soldiers loved in time of war, who get abandoned upon their return, reflect a fundamental flaw in our national character. Mercy shown to convicted felons while vets beg for shelter is despicable.

No soldier should ever fight, kill or die in an unjust war. So let's give thanks that this administration will be gone soon. They can't even honor the folks who fight for them.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche is an author, activist and advocate. She is the author of "Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States."  Her new novel, The Magic Diary, is due out in late spring.

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