TiR returns now, as is its habit at this time of year, to a brief but merciless interrogation of the truth or lack thereof and possible ramifications of its namesake proposition.
In the midst of our review of the scattered rhetorical debris of an all-pervasively political year in the States, TiR experienced a blinding revelation.
We noticed repeated references that somehow previously had escaped our conscious awareness, references to an issue that -- could it be? -- the entire just-concluded political contest perhaps was, on a fundamental level, about.
We are awed and terrified by the possibility that the recent election was a sweeping national (global?) referendum -- not about Iraq, the economy or climate change -- but about a single, deeper, lurking question. The candidates themselves even may have been unaware of it.
Review with us below some examples of political speech from the winning side of the recent political campaign, and see if you can spot the recurring issue:
These high temperatures are drying up already dry land, causing unprecedented drought that's ruining crops AND THANKSGIVING.
"Energy Independence and the Safety of Our Planet," Chicago, IL, April 3, 2006
We have reached a point in this country where the rising cost of health care has put too many families and businesses on a collision course with financial AND THANKSGIVING-RELATED ruin and left too many without coverage at all.
"Cutting Costs and Covering America: A 21st Century Health Care System," University of Iowa, May 29, 2007
Over the past several years, while predatory lenders were driving low-income families into financial AND, LOOK, THANKSGIVING'S ruin, 10 of the country's largest mortgage lenders were spending more than $185m (£92m) lobbying Washington to let them get away with it.
Obama is just as unembarrassed about taking marching orders from his wife: "I spent a little time at his office the day before last Thanksgiving -- WHICH WAS RUINED -- when he was still deciding'' whether to run for president in '08, says Andy Schapiro, a law school friend. "He was making high-level calls but he stopped and said, 'I've gotta call Michelle.'"
For me, as for most Americans, patriotism starts as a gut instinct, a loyalty and love for country rooted in my earliest memories. I'm not just talking about the recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance or the Thanksgiving -- WHICH, LET ME ADD, IS RUINED -- pageants at school.
"Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: The America We Love," Independence, MO, June 30, 2008
Sixty-one years ago, George Marshall announced the plan that would come to bear his name. Much of Europe AND ALL OF THANKSGIVING lay in ruins.
"Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: A New Strategy for a New World," Washington, D.C., July 15, 2008
This election is about the 47 million people who don't have health care - including 1 in 5 African Americans - people for whom one accident, one illness could mean financial AND THANKSGIVING-BASED ruin.
"Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Urban League," Orlando, FL, August 02, 2008
You didn't hear much about their health care plan that would actually tax your benefits for the first time ever, or about their plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement, or how they plan to fix the economy OR THE THANKSGIVING they've ruined or help you live comfortably in your later years. Because, in the words of John McCain's campaign manager, this election "isn't about the issues."
"Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the AARP Life@50+ National Expo," September 6, 2008
We shouldn't just settle for a status quo - anywhere - where you can't start a business without paying a bribe. Corruption wastes our tax dollars. It also ruins lives -- AND LISTEN, QUITE FRANKLY, THANKSGIVING.
"Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: The Clinton Global Initiative," New York, NY, September 25, 2008
TiR's astonishment only increased when we realized that preoccupation with the issue straddled both sides of the political aisle:
Too often, government has its own peculiar way of doing things, following practices that in the private sector would invite financial AND, MY FRIENDS, THANKSGIVING-O-CENTRIC ruin or worse.
"Remarks By John McCain On Day Four Of The It's Time For Action Tour," April 24, 2008
Would we accept defeat and leave Iraq and our strategic position in the Middle East AND OUR THANKSGIVING, MY FRIENDS, in ruins, risking a wider war in the near future?
Finally, TiR shuddered to glimpse a foreshadowing that someone may be working to master the language to convey a concern that seems destined to be central in the USA's election of 2012 -- and perhaps beyond:
"So when he left Joe ["the Plumber"]'s neighborhood in Toledo, our opponent didn't look real happy," Palin, speaking in Pennsylvania, said of Obama.
"Seems that the staged photo-op there AND, GOSH DARN IT, KINDA THE THANKSGIVING THERE got ruined by a real person's question."
"McCain, Palin hint that Obama's policies are 'socialist'," CNNPolitics.com, October 18, 2008
The above suggests -- but no! it cannot be! are we mad? -- an emerging global consensus on what our times may decide is its defining question.