By David K. Shipler
Thanksgiving is the best of American holidays. It is either religious or secular, depending on your preference. It is unburdened by materialism and free from jingoistic patriotism. It celebrates neither war nor triumph. It is not a day of mourning or grievance. It does not merely turn a page on the calendar but prompts a turning inward in reflection. The only true indulgence is the elixir of good food, best observed in our closest circles of family and friends.
Only there, for those of us who have that safe place of intimacy, does giving thanks come easily this year. If we have good health, good love, good friendships—if we have enough money to sustain us comfortably, work that we enjoy, lives that educate us constantly—gratitude flows clearly. Our act of thanksgiving is about the present, and the past that has led to our bounty.
We cannot give thanks for the larger world. Let us hope that next Thanksgiving we can, at least in some measure. I would wish then to be grateful--
*for the decency of my fellow Americans, who snuffed out the hateful bigotry and bluster of Donald Trump and his mob of followers, overcoming them at the polls to retain our nation’s purpose and ideals.
*for the eventual intelligence of the presidential campaign’s sensible discussion of actual issues using actual facts.
*for the good heart of my country, which put aside its fears to welcome the suffering and persecuted from violent lands.
*for the conscience of white America, mobilized by Black Lives Matter to reform policing and criminal justice.
*for the spreading realization that mitigating poverty should be an ingredient of our sacred honor.
*for the restoration of safe dignity to the women of Raqqa, the girls of Chibok, the people of Bamako and of Beirut and Paris and Kabul and on and on.
Please add to the list, and think this year of the next Thanksgiving.