Thursday, November 24, 2011


It is a year that has been decidedly more famine than feast. In our country there are new reports of 100 million of our citizens living as poor or nearly poor. Those just finishing school are often saddled with debt and a vision of a job market that is more foe than friend. The not so super-committee has just handed America an empty plate for Thanksgiving. The housing market remains a shocking mess. The definition of retirement is that no one is interested in obtaining the services that you wish to perform. And the Republican party's platform for America is an unmitigated disaster.  We resent those who are rich, and question how anyone can still party like its 1999. We are exhausted from all the hard work that it takes just to stay in place. What then, makes this a time for us to give thanks?

This question doesn't have an easy answer. Troubles are global in scope and staggering  in magnitude.  The Arab spring gave us an image of a people mad as hell and unwilling to allow the status quo to remain unchallenged. Many have taken to the streets throughout the European Union and now in our own country. All are trying to work through the pain and the disappointment and force their way to a more humane world. But the recent events in Egypt tell us that it is an best a work in progress. The uprisings in Greece and Italy that speak to the lunacy of austerity programs that merely force poverty into more homes, have not produced sanity. Occupy Wall Street, for all its promise and all its force, remains an enigma to many.

So, maybe this is a Thanksgiving unlike others, in which we have less to appreciate, and less to be thankful for. Maybe what this Thanksgiving is all about is teaching us the difficult lessons. Maybe this is the year that we suffer so we can come out of this stronger and more resolute. Maybe next year we will have more control over our destiny. Maybe next year those who care so little about the suffering of others will not be in position to inflict such pain. Maybe next year will show us more compassion and understanding.

And thus, when we gather together to feast, we may want to give thanks for this our year of common famine. Let it be the catalyst for a time in the not so distant future when we all have good reason to consider this a day of thanks-giving.

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