Thanksgiving, You Sneaky Thing, You!

Lincoln had the right idea for a National Day of Thanksgiving. What about this year?

Americans have had a tradition of giving thanks since before we were Americans. The pilgrims had such a time. President Washington noted the importance of a time for reflection and thanks. President Lincoln finally made the date official.

In every year, there are many of us who wonder if there is much for which we should be thankful. If we are thankful, what does that mean exactly? This might be such a year for many of us. But be of good heart – there is much to earn our thanks.

This year in particular seems to be one of two-edged swords. That is, terrible news on one side, but hope about the same problems also appear before us. Just when some things seem hopeless, good news sneaks up on us. A few examples to consider:

  • The President continues to demean the office and undercut the nation in so many ways. The current congress aides and abets that process. But the midterms brought important trends, and not just in who won. The hopeful subtexts abound.
    • The new congress will look much more like America in every way.
    • Sensible gun control may have turned the corner as a winning issue at all levels of politics. An NRA endorsement may shortly lead to political oblivion in a lot of districts.
    • More states wrested redistricting control from politicians. They are entrusting the process to nonpartisan, independent bodies. May we all join them – soon.
    • Most importantly, record numbers of Americans voted. Many did so not so much on politics or ideology, but on the state of civil discourse. Things like tone and civility sound trite – until they are missing. Millions of Americans said enough of this, we are better than this. Let’s see if those elected get the message. I am moderately hopeful.
  • The environment is striking back at us for our callousness. Hurricanes go from tropical storm to Category 5 hurricanes in 3 days. They then march inland for days. Torrential rains, flooding, and mudslides seem everywhere. Fires of speed, power, and destruction beyond imagination have struck around the world. The fires are fed by environmental decay. The environmental doubters in America are becoming an endangered species.
    • Politicians who previously denied global warming are becoming fewer in number. Many in coastal Virginia and South Florida, for example, have seen enough.
    • Communities and states have pledged to honor the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. They will not allow the current Administration to speak for them. One can hope a new Administration in 2020 will go back to sane policies.

So, yes, some real issues continue, but progress is also in evidence. I hope we are grateful enough for the good news to go beyond simply being thankful for personal, family, or collective good fortune. May we see any good news as a call to do our part, building on success, to confront what needs to be defeated, and build the common good.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone.

Oh, an important closing note!

One of the great examples of modern American humor was penned by the columnist Art Buchwald.  While he worked for the Herald Tribune in Paris in 1952, he sought to explain Thanksgiving to the French.

It was a classic. Funny, yet full of truth. Especially the next to the last paragraph. I read this column every year as a celebration of many things. If you care to join me, enjoy.

       Bill Clontz

If you find this blog worthy of your time and curiosity, I invite you to do two things:


(1) Join the conversation. Your voice counts here.

(2) Share the word about this post with friends and colleagues. Share a link in your emails and social media posts. Let’s grow our circle.


Your Turn to Comment