Friday, October 28th, 2016

In gratitude on Thanksgiving


Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date:2009 Nov 25; Section:Opinion; Page Number: 10A

Much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving
Thankfully, we won’t have Barbara Lawton as governor

For some people Thanksgiving is a sprint. For others it’s a marathon. My Thanksgiving marathon is two Thanksgiving dinners in the same day. My wife’s family eats early, and my side of the family eats late. By the end of the second football game, I’m more stuffed than the bird.

More important than eating, gratitude is what the day is all about. Part of the Wigderson Thanksgiving tradition is to offer thanks for a few specific items from the last year before digging in.

This year I am especially thankful we do not face the prospect of Barbara Lawton becoming governor. Not too surprisingly, I think most Democrats are grateful, too.

We may never know why she withdrew from the race. The Associated Press looked at e-mails coming and going from her office around the time of her withdrawal looking for a clue. You almost expect one of the e-mails to have the subject line, “Rosebud.”

However, Lawton did say in one e-mail how much she was looking forward to working one full-time job as lieutenant governor. If she thinks lieutenant governor in Wisconsin is a full-time job, not running for governor was probably a good idea.

I am grateful that Wisconsinites are offered a real choice for governor. They can either choose more of the same by electing Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, or they can change direction by voting for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.

I am sorry that former congressman Mark Neumann’s campaign seems to be near death. We could have had a real debate within the Republican Party about its future in Wisconsin. Instead, the whole Neumann campaign seems nothing more than a promotion for his home building business.

I am grateful that Sen. Russ Feingold has announced he is looking for ways to cut wasteful government spending. Unfortunately, instead of going after really big-ticket items like the stimulus package or the proposed health care boondoggle, his first choice is to go after Radio and TV Marti, which broadcasts to Cuba from the U.S.

I realize that Feingold is not a fan of free speech here in the U.S., but it would be nice if he supported efforts to bring democracy and freedom to Cuba. Perhaps instead of complaining about the jammed broadcasts not being in the spirit of Obama’s opening up our country’s relationship with a Communist dictatorship, we should tie improved relations to allowing more free speech and opening the airwaves in Cuba.

If Feingold advocated that, I’m sure the political prisoners in Castro’s jails would be grateful. Then maybe he could advocate for more democracy and freedom here, too.

I am grateful that, unlike Brett Favre, former Gov. Tommy Thompson is unlikely to make a comeback. I would rather remember the governor as he was rather than see the Thompson that “went native” in Washington, D.C. Thompson was and is part of the big-government wing of the Republican Party, and its time is past. Thompson may have “one more race” left in him, but Wisconsinites no longer have one more Thompson race left in them.

Unfortunately, Tommy’s brother Ed is running for state Senate as a Republican. The former Libertarian Party candidate for governor has taken to embracing some of the more fringe aspects of libertarianism, including calling September 11 conspiracy theorists “the only rational ones out there.”

Because he is running for state Senate, Ed Thompson will not be running for re-election as mayor of Tomah. If he loses, I will be grateful to see the end of his public career.

I am grateful my Christmas yard displays all work and will be lit from now until Easter.

Mostly, I am grateful for my family, the lovely Doreen from Waukesha and our two wonderful children. I am grateful for my readers and their many comments to me. I appreciate every one of them.

And I am grateful for the men and women in our armed forces, many of whom are serving overseas away from their families. They do the hard work of freedom and deserve our gratitude every day, not just Thanksgiving.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

Happy Thanksgiving from the whole Wigderson family!


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