Every year I write about Thanksgiving with a hope that I can avoid, or at least minimize, my political commentary, opting instead to make an annual kumbaya column, writing about what’s close to my heart in advance of my favorite holiday.
At least I try.
This year, however, I freely admit I can’t do it. The things for which I’m grateful are just too politically tainted this time around. Maybe it’s a sign of the times that my worldview is undeniably political, because the fight for “truth, justice and the American way” (as the a-political Superman used to say) has become nothing but political. Superhuman abilities just aren’t enough anymore.
So, if you’re still living in a pro-Trump reality, you might want to quit reading this opinion piece, lest it ruin your holiday. … yes, yes, I know it’s foolish to encourage people to ignore my column, but I’m not worried. Trump supporters don’t listen to me anyway.
I’ll start with the obvious: I’m eternally thankful that Trump is out of office. And off Twitter. And mostly out of sight, unless you go looking for him.
He divided this nation deeply, brought out the worst in people, then did his best to steal the election under the groundless accusation that it was stolen from him. Nevertheless, he failed in his coup attempt, Joe Biden became President, and I’m thankful.
I know Trump and his reactionary white base aren’t finished — they’re still the biggest threat to our democratic processes at least in my lifetime — but I’ve enjoyed the reprieve this last year has given us, and I look forward to three more years of “Sleepy Joe” (who turned out to be not-so-sleepy after all).
Which reminds me, I’m thankful we have a grownup, rather than a childish name-caller, in charge again. ‘Nough said.
I like Biden’s working-class liberal bend. I’m convinced our nation needs to make a progressive left turn — if for no other reason than to spread the wealth of this great nation to more of the people who helped create that wealth. The rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep falling into desperation, and it’s time to turn all that around.
Meanwhile, over on the right, I’m thankful for the growing number of conservatives who can’t stomach Trump any longer. They may be losing their party to a bunch of reactionaries, but I don’t think it will be a permanent thing. Cults of personality never last forever.
Oh for the days when we debated great ideas, both conservative and liberal and everything in between. I’m thankful that, if you dig deep enough into our modern media, you can still find people who think for themselves and place “the greater good” ahead of their own personal gain. I’m thankful that we still have such people, even if they do get lost in all the noise.
Thanks also goes to those who are finally taking climate change seriously, including those on the world scene and here in the U.S.A. I hope it’s not too little too late, but we can at least be thankful for the people and the progress made.
As a New Mexican, I’m thankful to be living in an oil-and-gas state that’s trying to be part of the solution rather than staying with the problem. Our state Energy Transition Act is an aggressive approach to a greener and cleaner future, and it shows our collective willingness to step up and face the facts, and do something practical about it, and I’m proud of that.
I’m thankful for my vaccinations. My booster on top of my previous shots — done and done. Now I can go to my annual family gathering confident I won’t give COVID to anyone or catch it myself.
My family didn’t get to have our annual Thanksgiving holiday last year, but that was pre-vaccine. This year we’re getting back together; it won’t be as large as years previous, but we’ll still sing a prayer together, feast on our abundance and relish the time we have together.
Life is good. With or without the politics.
Tom McDonald is founder of the New Mexico Community News Exchange, which distributes this column statewide. He’s also editor and publisher of the Guadalupe County Communicator in Santa Rosa. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.