These posts often seek to connect events on the global stage with moments that are common to many of us in our day-to-day lives. The intent: to show how intensely intimate dynamics and decision-making reflect corporate reality—and vice versa. Like New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect, with gratitude, on these moments. And, while there are innumerable examples in the media during this season—often including cringe-worthy attempts at humor (to cover over the embarrassment at being grateful?)—I ask you, good reader, to indulge me and allow me to add my thoughts. I believe that giving thanks increases optimism and helps cultivate an environment of hopefulness. So, what am I grateful for today?
I am grateful that the often partisan-based, knee-jerk reactions to the Covid crisis are being replaced by more thoughtful, nuanced (and increasingly helpful) dialogue about how to emerge from this seemingly endless global pandemic. We have begun to see thoughtful articles on how to live with the pandemic, how to take precautions while venturing into public settings and how to constructively reshape our lives.
I am grateful that the balance of news stories has shifted from all-consuming concerns about the United States, to a broader world view. Even if these stories continue to be fraught with concerns about the place of the US within the world community, it is helpful and instructive to intentionally include a global perspective in our decision-making. It was perhaps inevitable that our focus seemed to end at our borders with all-consuming concerns about Covid along side the previous administration’s preoccupation with “America First.”
But, this lack of global awareness had the effect of rendering us as a traveler on stormy seas with one eye shut and one leg lashed to the mast. This seems to be changing as recent reports about developments on the Russia/Ukraine border, in the South China Sea or among European capitals dealing with their own Covid surge, assume “top of the fold” coverage. While these are not exactly buoyant headlines, they nevertheless help us move past the myopic tendency to focus solely on domestic issues and reclaim our role as world citizens.
I am grateful that, despite the increase in immigration on our southern border, the excruciating and embarrassing horrors perpetuated in the name of the American people seem to have ended. The crisis still exists, but as healing intentions have replaced punitive immigration policies, we are moving in the right direction. Significant challenges lie ahead on our southern border, but as humane motivations form the core of our decision-making, there is reason for hope.
I am grateful that, despite worries about inflation, our economy is rebounding, easing the distress of so many. To be sure, problem areas abound, but statistics indicate that we are on the right track and that anxieties created by unemployment, child care costs and stagnant wages seem to be trending in directions that are easing the desperation felt by so many for so long.
I am grateful for a judicial system that is persistent in the pursuit of justice even if results are often flawed, short-sighted or tinged with the systemic racism that pervades our whole society. And for every disappointment in the courts (like the case against Kyle Rittenhouse), there are hopeful signs of holding the violence-prone arrogant to account as in the recent verdicts in Charlottesville and Brunswick, Georgia or the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.
So, I am grateful in this season that, as we emerge for the horrors of the pandemic’s early months, there is cause for hope. There are reasons to pause and give thanks. Even in the midst of what seems to be a continuing chorus of difficult news, that there are glimmers of hope. And, for that we can all give thanks.
2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving, 2021”
I’ve spent more than a little time this Thanksgiving recognizing that despite grief and lonliness, that there is much to be grateful for. Your column always stirs me but this year at this time I am particularly appreciative.
I am especially Thankful this year for the deep friendships in my life and how much I have learned and grown from these relationships in bad and good times. In our mutual world Bob you are of course a stand out, as was our friend and mentor Everett Parker.