Today is Thanksgiving Day, and I have much to be thankful for.
- My wife. I met Sarah on September 26, 2011 at a function for new graduate fellows at The University of Alabama. My life has never been the same since. I have in Sarah someone that I can share my deepest fears and greatest joys. We are both advocates for the “least of these”, and our passion about issues in our society keeps up late at night debating politics and policy. She is so kind and caring, even when I am brute and curt. She gives true meaning to the term “my better half”, and there is no one else that I would rather have as my life partner.
- Politics and its corrective power over social relationships. Politics is a funny thing. For politics in a democratic society to work, it requires a bit of coming together. We must all go to the polls and vote and we must all keep our elected officials accountable for their promises and remind them of who they serve. At the same time, politics can be a very divisive issue that can separate associates, friends, and even family. I have culled my Facebook list by more than a few people since the election cycle primarily because of politics (and also, because people seem to have forgotten how to handle disagreements with their fellow humans). Some people would find this to be a bad thing; I do not. Politics is a marker that can let you know how the people that you associate with really view the world. The people that I have deleted have been ignorant of race relations, gender identity, reproductive rights, and the plight of the poor. Because of that, I would probably never have these people in my social circle anyway were it not for Facebook. So they are gone. Do not mistake this, however, as being the ramblings of someone who must have ideological singularity with all of his friends. I am friends with conservatives, school reform advocates, and people who are more than a little wary of unions. But they are all kind and can think for themselves. That does not seem like too much to ask for, does it?
- Social movements. We have had a sort of awakening on the Left as of late. Some efforts have been more successful (marriage equality) than others (Occupy Wall Street), but at least leftists are beginning to organize as a political force that will not be pushed around by either party. The centrists have had control of the Democratic Party for long enough, and all we have gotten in return is austerity, “welfare reform”, “education reform”, and squishy “compromises” that always seem to fall on the backs of working families and the poorest among us. If 2011 was the year that the Left woke up and 2012 was the year that the Left took to the streets, then let’s make 2013 the year that the Left codified its gains in municipal, state, and federal law.
- President Barack Obama. This really goes without explanation.
All in all, there is a lot for me to be thankful for this year, both personally and politically. We should always push forward so that more and more people can be thankful for having the basic needs that every human requires: food, water, and shelter. Let us go forth this holiday season and advance the world we live in towards a more humane world for all of us.