That people have short, if not selective, memories is a given.

The quality of life and long life spans Americans now enjoy didn't exist 100 years ago. Back then, drinking water was often contaminated, the air was full of toxins, the beef supply tainted, rivers and lakes fouled with raw sewage.

There was no workplace safety. Worse yet, diphtheria, smallpox, tuberculosis, influenza and polio sent many to an early grave.

Over time, numerous federal programs were developed. The short list includes the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, vaccines were introduced to control and even eliminate horrible diseases.

People feel they have the right to brand these actions as government overreach or fascist. Wouldn't giving thanks be a better use of free speech?

TIMOTHY J. BISH

Lewis and Clark