It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and many Americans might be thinking they have little to be thankful for. Gratitude is not cool. Rage is cool. Resentment is cool. Selfishness and greed are cool. Cynicism is cool.
But I refuse to be cool. I will continue to be thankful for my blessings.
So that makes me what? Uncool? A dweeb? A dork?
I know, I know. A worldwide travel alert has been issued by the US government. Terrorists are on the loose, murdering and threatening and scaring people. The media is aflame with extravagant rhetoric. Racism is worse than I can ever remember. On all sides of the ethnic mosaic. not just black and white, the embers of old grievances are stirring into flames once more.
Fascists like Donald Trump are attracting a disturbing number of followers, inciting xenophobia and nihilistic rage in a shameless lust for political power.
Watching the news, you might be forgiven for throwing up your hands and asking yourself whether it’s time to pack up and move to Costa Rica.
But remember, the world depicted by the media is their world, not ours.
In their world, mayhem and murder proliferate, anger and hatred are whipped up by ambitious politicians, conflicting “experts” and other self-serving publicity seekers. Mass shootings are commonplace. Their reporters scour the far corners of the world in search of ugliness and strife and distill it into a toxic brew for our consumption and their enrichment..
In our world, we live and love in the midst of it all. We have romantic liaisons, which may or may not flower into nurturing relationships. We go to work or, if we’re retired, pursue our favorite hobbies.
Young families raise their kids, sending them to school and making whatever plans they can for their future.
Beyond the TV screens, beyond the headlines, beyond “social media,” real people do real things. The ugliness spewing from Trump and so many others flows vaguely past their consciousness as they tend to more pressing matters, fixing that broken drain pipe, looking for a bigger home now another child is on the way, applying for a promotion or a better job…
And, as the holidays approach, a lot of those people take time out to think of others. I watched a video on the internet this morning that showed good Samaritans handing out food to the homeless in New York City, for example. And closer to home, the folks at the church next door collected turkeys for the hungry, various agencies are preparing special meals for drifters and our friend Esther, who is in her nineties, will probably be helping out as usual at the Salvation Army, offering those in need a dry, warm place to sleep and a hearty Thanksgiving meal.
Yes, the waters of politics might rage and swell and it might seem as if the mountains are going to be cast into the sea, but trust me, that’s in the media’s world, not ours.
In our world, there’s a lot to deplore, a lot that needs fixing, but there’s still a lot to be thankful for.