I recalled that last year at this time, I wasn’t feeling terribly thankful because of the result of the US presidential election. So I looked back to see what I wrote, and found that my characteristic optimism was holding up pretty well.
- I suggested that we could be thankful for people who felt more impassioned than ever to uphold our democratic and secular values.
That hasn’t changed. We had the Women’s March! We had the Virginia elections in which a transsexual woman won a state representative seat from a religious conservative. Trump and Republican legislators are so far down in the polls that Democrats are hopeful about taking over the house in 2018 and maybe the Senate too.
- I pointed out that Obamacare and Medicare still existed.
And a year later, they still do! Granted, the Republican-dominated House and Senate tried their best to repeal Obamacare, but so far, it hasn’t worked. A few pesky Republican senators won’t let it happen. Does that ever make Trump mad.
Medicare reductions are in the new tax bill, but that hasn’t passed yet and why should we think that it will? The Republicans haven’t passed any significant legislation since they’ve been in power.
- Then I asked for your help, because I couldn’t think of anything else that was positive.
Now, as I look over this year’s list, I notice a focus on negative things that have not yet happened. But truly, it could be worse. The nuclear button has not been pushed, for instance. And we still have all the non-political things to be thankful for that we had last year and have every year, really, as humanists:
- Family and good friends (real and “virtual”);
- The great stroke of luck we all got when we were born into this world;
- The opportunity to live the one life we have with as much enjoyment as we can muster;
- A commitment to make things better for ourselves and others while we’re here and for future generations. That could be a lot of hard work, but it beats counting on a non-existent rapture.
Linda LaScola is co-author, with Daniel C. Dennett, of Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind (2013) and “Preachers who are not Believers” (2010). She is an independent qualitative research consultant who works out of Washington, D.C. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Catholic University of America and is a co-founder of the Clergy Project.
>>Photo Credits: “Donald Trump September 3 2015” by Michael Vadon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donald_Trump_September_3_2015.jpg#/media/File:Donald_Trump_September_3_2015.jpg
by M. Rehemtulla – http://www.flickr.com/photos/quoimedia/5289972209/in/set-72157625057312514/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12737421 : By Jan Luyken – Bowyer’s Bible, Bolton, England, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7550941
By Robert Walter Weir – PwHe6-AEvwmbIw at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, (pilgrims) https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21913652