Thanksgiving in turbulent times
During my several years of writing, advertising, and pretending to be a journalist, I have faced many challenges. I have dealt with deadlines, difficult interview subjects, software problems, equipment breakdowns, rotten employees, writer's block, and humiliating typographical errors. I have done all of that, and yet I wonder if I am up to the arduous task before me now–writing about Thanksgiving on the heels of another Trump presidential announcement. This time, I may truly be in over my head.
Giving thanks shouldn’t be hard this year. We need only to point out that it’s not 2021 anymore. Game. Set. Match. Stores and restaurants are open. Schools are in session and in most settings, masks are no longer necessary. Purel and toilet paper are back on the shelves again too, but there are even more reasons to be thankful.
Gas prices and inflation aren’t good, but we have full employment (for now) and many would agree that it’s better to have a job in a bad economy than it is to be without a paycheck in a good economy. Yes, your thanksgiving meal will cost an arm and a leg this year, but we now know how to use “Zoom” and other virtual conferencing technologies that are bringing families together in ways that weren’t so readily adopted a few short years ago.
A majority of our neighbors will be thankful that we have a new pool and baseball complex on the way. Some good people put a great deal of effort into that project and although several voters were irritated by the combination of two projects on the ballot, the overall campaign was successful. Personally, I’m a sucker for anything that smacks of economic development, so I am thankful for that, but must it always be sports?
We can also be thankful when we see that a few ticked-off Ukrainians equipped with our weapons systems can gain traction over a dictatorial superpower. Naturally, we would rather see peace, but knowing that our technology can beat their technology offers us a sense of confidence that was absent through the decades of the cold war.
As I write this, most NATO ambassadors have concluded the “missile of Russian origin” that landed on Polish soil killing two is regretful, but wouldn’t likely be the opening volley of a Russian attack. Diplomats are characterizing the incident as an error made by Ukranian forces using old Soviet gear, so for now, there will be no World War Three.
Concerns over the matter are more local than we might think. Late last month, I spoke with a McCook gentleman whose son’s military unit had recently been deployed to Poland. I immediately thought of the parents of that young man when I read the news about Przewodow. If we can make it to next Thursday without anyone invoking Article Four, I know of at least one family in McCook who will be thankful, as we all should be.
Through all of this, we find ourselves in a political prediciment that reminds us that laughing is better than crying. Yes, Mr. Trump has announced his candidacy and he did so early so we can enjoy a full two years of grandstanding and provocation. Mr. Trump has no choice but to act now, because there is a guy in Florida who can deliver the same policies without so much nonsense. That has Trump worried, so he will most certainly throw mud at Ron DeSantis in hopes of winning the nomination, but if DeSantis does prevail, Mr. Trump will have done the Democrat Party’s work for them.
Back in the days when I was a practicing Republican, a group of people came along who called themselves the “Tea Party.” God love them. They were decent, well-intentioned, patriotic Americans who had one unique talent. They were the best of the best when it came to nominating people who couldn’t possibly win a general election. As I look at the crop of what our current president calls, “Mega Maga,” it doesn’t just remind me of the Tea Party days. In many cases, it’s supported by exactly the same people.
Of course, I am no longer a Republican, so this isn’t really any of my business is it? Fortunately, or unfortunately, I care about our country and who is running it. I hope you do too, and while we are counting our blessings, let’s remember that our founding fathers got most of it right. We aren’t a perfect nation, but we have the tools to make it better. Let’s be thankful for that.