Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Nothing to give thanks for this Thanksgiving? A cynic’s guide to gratitude

     Thursday is Thanksgiving, the gateway holiday. A big happy — well, not always so happy — family meal that lures us toward the thornier challenges of Christmas (all those gifts) and New Year’s (all those resolutions).
     It’s called “Thanksgiving” because you’re supposed to give thanks, it’s right there in the name: Thanksgiving. We should be giving thanks and – bulletin! — while we certainly live in a challenging time, with imbeciles running the country and heavily-armed lunatics seeming to lurk around every corner, there is still much to be grateful for. Just in case specifics don’t leap to mind, I’ll help with a short and by no means comprehensive list:
     1. You’re alive. Most people are dead — more than 100 billion, according to demographers. Compared to 7.5 billion who are enjoying this brief flash between two very long, very cold eternities. Be grateful to be here; not everyone is, and you won’t always be either.   
     2. You’re in the United States. Sure, we’re in the grip of a would-be tyrant, the most flawed, toxic buffoon to ever occupy the Oval Office, which is really sayin' somethin'. But our institutions are still strong. The voters gave a vigorous thumbs-down a few weeks ago. We ate a bad clam, politically. It feels horrible, but our system is purging the poison

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  1. This one is an classic....I give thanks for you writing this thing every day. But today's is so good, might have to read it at least three times. And it gets better every time.

  2. I'm headed to Cleveland for an acrimonious dinner engagement with my mother-in-law. And many other people I love enormously grateful to have in my life. Then on to Rochester New York to see my eldest son. Been away college for 4 years already and I've only been there twice. Argh!
    I have much to be grateful for. So I don't count the new governor amongst my blessings. Just another Rich fat cat in Democratic clothing.
    Thank you Neil for your dedication to your craft. You're writing brings me pleasure.

    1. FME- If you were having trouble staying afloat would you decline a rescue effort from a better boat than the one you fell off of? Yes, they may be partying so hard on that vessel and pass you by, unnoticed, we'll see.

  3. Somehow, I've gotten on the mailing list of the Tea Party, Restore American Glory, etc. and the first thing I heard from these people after Trump announced his support for prison reform was outrage that we could be so unkind to his Majesty when he had just so generously offered to join the mostly liberal efforts to reform the prison system. Which reminds me of a remark I read some time ago stating that all totalitarian regimes are based on Mercy. Given that there is no justice and everything is potentially against the law in those regimes, one has to rely on the mercy of one's superiors in order to get along.


  4. Beyond just being grateful for being alive most of your readers owe gratitude for the gift of long life. The extensive coverage in today's paper of the three still young, and exemplary, people cut down at Mercy hospital brings to mind lines from a sorrowful ballad by America's first song writer.

    "Ah, may the red rose live alway
    To smile on earth and sky.
    Why should the beautiful ever weep?
    Why should the beautiful die?"


  5. I am thankful today. Russia is led by a murderer. Saudi Arabia is a murderous society, led by an overprivileged exporter of murder similar to Putin. To our president they are role models. What I am grateful for is Drumpf's incompetence in office, without which he could do significantly more damage.


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