Thanksgiving is just around the corner. One family I know has a tradition during the big meal of asking each person what they were thankful for. Easy answers always came out like “good health” or “family” but I wanted to dig a little deeper. Below are a few of the things that I’m thankful for in 2017.
Political disagreements are allowed.
This may be a strange thing to be thankful for but Americans are always going to have differences of opinion on issues. That’s why we have political parties. However, whether you love or hate Trump or want to remove your governor or senator, you are free to sign petitions, march in the streets, and write diatribes without fear of prison. Although our country is more divided than I would like, we are all free to express our own views. That is pretty damn special.
Checks and Balances controlled the damage.
Like others, I felt devastated when Trump was elected president. However, I comforted myself that we have a system of checks and balances that keeps the extremes from doing too much damage. Brave, serious people stood up to block rushed votes, bad bills, and unethical political maneuvering. The courts struck down unfair and odious executive orders. Our political system worked this year, slowing down initiatives to insure there is sufficient time is taken to review them and get them right. The good fight rages on and I’m thankful that we have a system that allows us to block any extremism.
Americans rose to help.
This year we’ve seen some pretty hard times. Hurricanes decimated our coastline and our islands, wildfires burned millions of acres and towns. Challenges like these are always going occur and they test our resolve. Americans rose up, pouring out their hearts and funds to those whose homes and communities were destroyed. We need to still donate because help is still needed. It may be a simple case of dropping change into a box, placing a bag of groceries into a food bin, or writing a check to places like Americares or the American Red Cross. We do what we need to. I’m thankful that the people, although divided by ideology, still unite to help one another in time of need.
Awareness and Diversity is still increasing.
This year I learned more about the struggles faced by minorities and people of color in all areas of life. I hope you did too. This education and renewed awareness helps me shake off my own blindness, ignorance, and stereotypic thinking that made me a lesser person in my relationship with the world.
Even in the great nerdarchy that I love, people of color are stepping forward and enjoying things like cosplay and better, larger roles in great shows and movies, but those efforts came with ugliness and criticism from small-minded troglodytes. Black people can cosplay Batman or a Disney princess. Why not? Women deserve to have a voice in video games. I applauded the choice of a lady for the new Doctor Who and would love to see a person of color in that role. Since when do we think that anything in this world is limited to white, privileged males? It’s time to change that and I’m grateful that I’m seeing and supporting diversity at every level.
Women are fighting back.
My husband has a saying about women’s rights. “You all fought the war and lost.” He refers to the sense that American governments at the state and federal levels are moving to take away women’s rights over their own healthcare and the right to decide their lives. We are hearing increased garbage about “women belonging in the home” or “asking to be raped” by Neanderthal-thinking privileged males who seem to be threatened by women seeking equality. Male-only groups are making decisions about women’s care without even considering science, politics, society, or any number of factors.
I’m thankful that we ladies are rising up and fighting back. We will never be imprisoned in the home again to simply be content as the “little wife.” We are powerful, we are organized, and most importantly we are educated and intelligent. We are breaking barriers and tearing down walls. Those men who are threatened can simply crawl back into their dirt caves.
Jobs are available.
For whatever reason and no matter who is to thank, Americans have jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is better than it was ten years ago. I see signs in a lot of stores, restaurants, and online stating that they are hiring. If you want work, it’s there in some form. You just have to go apply. It may not be your dream job but you can get work. My income stream suddenly changed and I had another job within a month. That’s pretty damn cool.
There is more that I could say of course, but you get the idea. Our American society is in a great deal of flux right now. Parts of the future seem uncertain and sometimes downright frightening. However, let’s take a moment to realize that it is not the “end of days” as some predicted. We have the ability to continue the good fight ahead. Those rights simply are not available in some other countries. So this Thanksgiving, consider being thankful for the blessings we have and the fact that, although we must continue to improve, we are still a great country.