By Dr. Jim Ferguson

Have you ever been the one to not get the message? Well, it just happened to me, four hours before the editorial deadline for this week’s Focus. Apparently, I didn’t get the email that usually reminds columnists to be prepared for an early deadline. To put a positive spin on this “situation,” it’s fortunate that I no longer have an office full of patients to see or hospital rounds to make so I can devote the time to writing.

I hope everyone got the message to get a flu shot because most of us will be hugging relatives and guests on Thanksgiving. If you missed the opportunity, go as soon as possible to get your flu shot because it takes two weeks for the immune system to respond to the vaccine. Then, you will be ready for Santa Claus.

Unfortunately, there are no vaccinations for the several dozen cold viruses. Nor is there lasting immunity to these wintery devils. So, you’ll have to depend on common sense, recognizing that colds (and influenza) are primarily transmitted by personal contact. Most of us understand and eschew the exchange of body fluids. Sneezing and coughing are problematic, but even kissing your host on the cheek can be risky if she has a cold. And it might even get you in trouble in this current surreal environment of harassment allegations. Now, I’m not trying to put a damper on the bon ami of Holiday gatherings. Just cough into your sleeve and travel to parties with a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket.

Quarantine is an effective means of halting infectious diseases. It might seem an odd observation, but one downside of modern life is the ability to travel when sick. People with colds can go even farther than “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house…” Picture flying crowded in coach with recycled air and you have the recipe for colds, influenza and worse traveling thousands of miles or even across oceans. Recall that Native American populations were decimated by smallpox and other old world diseases brought to the new world by Europeans.

Apparently, Charlie Rose, Al Franken and a bewildering array of liberal-progressive Democrat men didn’t get the message that strutting naked and fondling are not appreciated by women. The same accusers of Trump’s locker room bravado (the Access Hollywood video) are now guilty of far more egregious acts. The hypocrisy of the media, Hollywood and political figures is breathtaking. And it’s not over because the soul searching investigations are not complete. Wait until the revelations of Congressional impropriety surface. After all, taxpayers have paid seventeen million dollars to settle such claims since 2002; and Bill Clinton left office in 2001.

My education continues on more levels than just current events and medicine. Recently, a friend “messaged” me about what she called “legitimate facts.” Mr. Webster defines legitimate as claims being “neither spurious nor false” or, in other words, true. Facts are actually conditional. To be true they must be verifiable and reproducible in all places and times. As a result, truth is a higher bar to achieve than any “fact” penned by a journalist or a factoid which flows out of a politician’s mouth.

These days, we hear a lot about “fake news.” We shouldn’t be surprised that it exists because it is often perpetrated by the ruling class and elite media, many of whom, as we’ve seen lately, are reprobates and hypocrites. We should be asking why we believe anything they say. We The People must step up and determine what is legitimate or truthful and that requires some investigative zeal and common sense.

The election of Donald Trump should have been a message to the ruling class, liberal media elitists, academia and Hollywood. I didn’t expect vacuous Hollywood types to comprehend the defeat of the Clintons, but the other so-called smart people should have figured things out by now. Unfortunately, they are blinded by their own ideology. Their messaging to each other and their attempts to manipulate We The People is so painfully obvious now. And it is killing them.

I often use quotes which I admire, but rarely extensively. However, apparently our leaders (Mr. Corker, Mr. Alexander and others) need the people’s message as recently articulated by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. He observes that We The People have “lost faith in both the competence and the intentions of our governing class.” He goes on to say that “Government now takes nearly half of every dollar we earn and bosses us around in every aspect of life, yet can’t deliver basic services well.” Senator Cotton describes the “forgotten man” who has seen his “wages stagnate, while the richest four counties in America are inside the Washington Beltway.” (Hello Penam of The Hunger Games.) Senator Cotton concludes saying “The kids of the working class are those who chiefly fight our seemingly endless wars and police our streets, only to come in for criticism too often from the very elite who sleep under the blanket of security they provide.” Well said Senator Cotton.

This is Thanksgiving and we should all take a moment amidst the mess to reflect on the message of thankfulness of living in a great country with unparalleled freedom to succeed or to fail. I disagree with kneeling millionaire football players or that our problems can be solved by ever bigger government.

I am thankful that I’m alive, aware of the Way and in awe of the Creator. And I’m thankful that Trump is standing up to bullies and for We The People. I’m thankful that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Spokeswoman, recently challenged the Press corps to say something that they were thankful for if they wanted to ask a question. How refreshing!

So, to conclude a spur of the moment Thanksgiving essay, sprinkled with some medicine, some politics (activity in the American polis), quotes and a bit of history, let’s acknowledge being thankful to the Creator and Sustainer for life itself. Perhaps we should be saying ThanksLiving as a part of Thanksgiving.