I  am not a fan of President Trump’s demeanor. I believe in people maintaining decency, respect for each other and for the law. Three college basketball players on scholarship at UCLA were caught shoplifting sun glasses in China while on a good-will trip for their university. One of the player’s father, LaVar Ball, is outspoken and a self-promoter, as is President Trump. They are having a Tweet War, after the father belittled the effort it took the President (and U.S. government) to get these basketball players released and sent home, without spending many years in jail. These players will likely become millionaires if drafted by the N.B.A.. Mr. Ball’s son is certainly in this category. Other students at U.C.L.A. may struggle just to pay for their education at U.C.L.A. They are not getting a ride nor a trip to China. This is not to say the school is innocent. U.C.L.A. makes money off of its basketball program, but even if these players were considered paid employees, appropriate conduct would be required. U.C.L.A. could not bite the revenue bullet and withdraw the scholarships of these players. It should. It did not want to risk them leaving for another school. It suspended them. LaVar Ball could not bring himself to offer a simple apology (or to say nothing), both for his failure as a father and for not expressing gratitude to the leaders of the U.S. and China, and their governments, for wasting their time and our money. Mr. Ball has seen worse things stolen then sunglasses- no big deal. Well respect and common decency is a big deal and teaching those values to your children is a parent’s responsibility.

No one is perfect, but we should all strive to be better. In Alabama those with claimed religious values are willing to overlook a Senate candidate’s alleged attraction to young girls when he was a law officer and 32. Would they elect Anthony Weiner? Those in Minnesota are willing to cut their liberal senator some slack for what he admittedly did with a woman while he was a comedian. He apologized, but it was no joke. Power, or presumed power, is not a right to disrespect. Hypocrisy makes it worse. The Senator and some Hollywood stars fall into this category. If you want to champion a cause, be transparent about your own personal failures first. There may be less champions, but at least they would be deserving.

We live in a wonderful country. Not everyone in it is wonderful, but there are likely some redeeming values in each and every one of them. At Thanksgiving let us be grateful for what we have been given and earned, and to earn the respect of others at and after dinner. At the very least, recognize that there are others who are then out in the cold, with no place warm to sleep, alone, with nothing to eat. I just have to walk a block to my park to see the reality that there but for the grace of God I have been spared. Share some of your dinner wealth with them.

Happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all of you.

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