On Tuesday, I returned from a short trip to Afghanistan where I was fulfilling my role as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to meet with officials on the ground and learn first hand about the progress being made there. I had the opportunity to meet with senior Afghan and U.S. officials who provided us with updates on the security situation in the region.
While I was in Afghanistan, I received word about the inability of the supercommittee to reach a deal to reduce our debt. I share the disappointment expressed by members of the committee, but given the lack of leadership from the President and deep divisions between the members of the committee and many in both the House and Senate, I cannot say that I am shocked by this outcome. The American people will now have to choose for themselves next November which approach they believe is the right path to take to address our nation’s future: continued overspending supported by tax increases and more borrowing, or a hard look at Washington’s spending habits and reforms to our nation’s tax code and entitlement programs.
This week, Americans across the country will gather together with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for – both individually and as a nation. Traveling to Afghanistan and visiting with our servicemembers as well as Afghan citizens makes this holiday even more significant. We live in a country where we can openly express our opinions and practice our religion freely. We wake up in the morning knowing that there are men and women halfway across the world who are fighting, and some who are dying, for these rights and for our safety.
America has risen to great heights since the celebration of the first Thanksgiving, but there are still many Americans who find themselves in need during this holiday season. Let us keep them in our thoughts and focus on what we can do to help those less fortunate than we are. We also remember the volunteers who help serve the homeless and others in need. They exemplify American generosity, and we thank them for their goodwill.
For many North Carolina families, a parent, brother, sister, or child will be away this Thanksgiving serving in the Armed Services. Let’s all take a few minutes to thank our nation’s servicemembers and military families for their patriotism and sacrifice. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those serving overseas and to families who have lost a loved one or who may be caring for an injured veteran.