Today is Thanksgiving in America. I hate doing fluff type articles but I thought the holiday provided me with a perfect opportunity to fulfill that obligation while sharing one of my (many would argue few) optimistic theories with my readers.
Since I’m being to a large degree personal, I want to share my favorite Thanksgiving story. As my regular readers know I grew up within less than 10 miles of the Canadian border. (Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is a sovereign country and not part of the United States. My thumbnail description of Canada is the United States with a better health care delivery system and nicer people.) In any event, some Thanksgiving Day while I was in my twenties – I can’t remember the exact year – I broke my glasses. Of course, in those days all the local optical places were closed for the holiday. Then I remembered that the Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October. I went over the border, found an optical place where they very politely and efficiently fixed my glasses.
Especially in my writing I complain a lot. I think it is with very good cause and keep in mind I write mainly about politics. It may seem contradictory but I realize and appreciate that compared to much of the rest of the world even working class and middle-class Americans have it very, very good. I’ll cite a few examples just from my own life.
My first example is water. Now I have always lived east of the Mississippi River where water is pretty abundant 24/7/365. Large parts of the American West have a few more challenges when it comes to water. When I take a shower, I have no problem letting the tap run for a bit to achieve the temperature I want even though I’m pouring perfectly good water down the drain. When I wash the hand dishes, I do the same. In fact, I’m one of those people who pretty thoroughly rinses the dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. That doesn’t even count the water I use to rinse out some of the things that I put in the recycle bin. In many countries for all but the wealthy water is a major concern.
In large part due to America’s public education system, I learned how to read which to me is the most important academic skill. To a large degree if you can read you can teach yourself almost anything. If you can read it is also much more difficult to deceive you which is why right wing regimes (including today’s GOP) wage a war on public education.
Current technology is amazing and, typical Baby Boomer, I don’t partake in all it has to offer. Modern American life revolves around the iPhone which is capable of doing more with each version and update. I haven’t left my seat to change the channel or adjust the volume on the TV in decades. A remote control does it for me; I just press a button. I was late to the party and didn’t use a microwave until sometime after my fiftieth birthday. Now not a day goes by that I don’t use it.
(As an aside, with the velocity of change what will life be like for my grandchildren in 2073, a mere 50 years from now?)
We have had several very bad to terrible presidents during my lifetime alone. Arguably none challenged the very foundation of American democracy to the extent that Donald Trump did. We have to be thankful that the voters erased their 2016 mistake by defeating him in 2020. While I am frustrated by the slow speed and in many cases what I consider too light sentences it is gratifying that many of the domestic terrorists that took part in the unsuccessful coup attempt, (another Trump-led failure – or is that very statement redundant?), on January 6, 2021 are in prison. The bottom line is that again America withstood a challenge and emerged, if a bit battered, victorious.
I have enjoyed a few advantages in life. I was born in the 1950s a white male who ended up being heterosexual. While I am no longer a practitioner of any religion, I was brought up in one that most consider Christian. Had I been wealthy, I’d have had it all.
To me the bottom line which I am thankful for this Thanksgiving is that by accident of birth and the 14th Amendment I was born in America and am an American citizen. Regardless of whether, or to what degree, you agree with me please have a happy Thanksgiving!
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