Thanksgiving is all about the bird. This season two birds are deserving of our attention.
This year over 240 million turkeys will be raised for our consumption. Another words 7.1 billion pounds of turkey will be eaten valued at $3.6 billion. 45 million turkeys were eaten yesterday for Thanksgiving. Minnesota raises 47 million fryers, more than any other state. The average live weight of turkeys today, 28 pounds, is 30% larger than 40 years ago. Apparently obesity is not just a human problem. Turkeys too have to watch their weight.
A political lesson might be learned here. Despite our thanksgiving for an America that still offers an abundance of opportunities and freedoms we stop to pause and think about our government’s largesse. Never have we seen so many turkeys making vital decisions. We are running unsustainable deficits. The voters say they want a smaller, leaner government but still order more public services. Both of the two major parties seem unable to serve up what we really need. Look for new recipes by outsiders to continue to challenge the conventional political spread. Will their suggestions be fair or fowl?
Yet Thanksgiving is not just for turkeys. Do not forget about the ducks.
We are not talking about the number one ranked Oregon Ducks. Though talking about Oregon football is still hard to swallow. For the last 36 years Stuttgart, Arkansas has hosted over the Thanksgiving weekend the World Duck Calling Championships. This year over 60,000 callers will participate. Winners can earn up to $15,000 depending upon their calling ability.
Again there must be a political lesson in here somewhere. We are about to face an historic lame duck session of Congress. A lame duck session is one in which the recently defeated Congress still conducts business until the new representatives are sworn in. For one month those Democrats who were soundly defeated in the midterm elections will have a chance to call it their way one last time.
And what call will we hear?
Some are anticipating a “hail call.” For duck callers this involves five excited quacks. For lame duck Democrats this might mean pushing through unfinished Obama business. This could mean new energy, immigration, banking and tax policy along with eliminating the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the military. This would make a lot of noise but run the risk of scaring away independent birds.
Others are predicting our lame ducks to use a “comeback call.” This involves a kinder, gentler quack. The purpose of this call is to hopefully prevent more ducks from leaving. Democrats are hopeful that the shellacking they took in the midterm will be forgotten. If independent voters continue to frown on Obama’s agenda there is deep trouble ahead. Perhaps this lame duck Congress will learn from their past mistakes.
Whatever this lame duck Congress does, to the average ear it will sound like more and more quacking. Public approval of this Congress sits at historic lows. Little can be rescued at this point. Only two things will be certain this season:
We will have a large number of flabby turkeys sounding a whole lot like lame ducks.