November 25, 2020
Perhaps typically, the Thanksgiving holiday’s meaning has gotten somewhat lost. It’s mainly now just an occasion for family gathering and feasting. Actually a fine thing, worthy in itself. But those who celebrated the first one really did have reason for thanks: survival. After so many of their number had perished.
Now we gather for Thanksgiving amid a plague ravaging humanity. In fact under consequent strictures that limit our gathering. Yet we can, like those forebears, give thanks that we are after all alive. And that we will prevail.
We are fortunate to inhabit a uniquely hospitable planet. Well, we wouldn’t exist otherwise. And yet, while we romanticize nature, it’s also harsh and unforgiving, and the essence of the human story is our struggle in the face of that, to overcome and to thrive. So too with this pandemic we rise to the challenge. Our battle against it epitomizes our best selves. And we will prevail.
Among all the human communities that ever were, our America shines with special light. And it has been beset by a plague of another sort these past four years. Putting in grave doubt the survival of its best self. But now we have come through, if only by the skin of our teeth. The better angels of our nature have prevailed.
Indeed, in just recent weeks our democracy endured a severe test. Many feared it could buckle under the assault of a very bad man who would stop at nothing, to keep hold of his power, by abusing it. And so he did try; but he has failed, our institutions proved equal to the challenge.
I know the evil is far from fully crushed. The “stolen election” lie is a long-lasting poison injected into our body politic. But as an optimist I believe truth and reason must ultimately prevail. And meantime, the Augean stables are being cleaned out. With a new administration of experienced public-spirited professionals, grown-ups who actually understand the world, and what truly serves this nation. Who can make America great again.
Most fundamentally, a psychology of gratitude is key to a good life. I am lucky to have that; something I’m grateful for. I always count my blessings, and in this November of 2020, there’s a grand new one. This Thanksgiving is for me especially profound.