Giving thanks in a year which saw the worst pandemic in a century and a recession that erased countless jobs and small businesses is not going to be easy. No one should try to minimize the tough times we are going through. More than a quarter of a million people have lost someone they love to COVID-19. That horrendous death toll is going to get even higher before it ends. The broken dreams and lost educational opportunities from this crisis could affect an entire generation of Americans. Politically, we are as divided and angry at “the other side” as we have been in a long time.

Yet in the midst of all this gloom, rays of sunshine poke through. It’s hard to see them at times, even harder for those who have suffered deep personal loss. But we can’t ignore the many reasons we should still be grateful for living in this country in 2020.

Somehow, our nation and economy have survived this nightmare. The unemployment rate is starting to creep down and the business closings have leveled off. Finances are still tight out there for many people and companies, but those who have made it this far probably won’t see anything worse.

Despite the steep divide between our political parties, we managed to hold a presidential election, and even saw the highest rate of voter turnout (65%) in a long time. Not only were people not discouraged from voting, they seemed determined to overcome whatever obstacles lie before them to do so. And it wasn’t all one party, since Republicans did surprisingly well in this election despite losing the presidency.

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Speaking of that contest, President-elect Joe Biden promises to emphasize healing and unity. That effort is sorely needed in Washington and the entire country.

We also have several encouraging vaccines to defeat the coronavirus, and more are on the way. This is the beginning of the end for this modern plague. Within a few months, hospitalizations and deaths will start decreasing, and eventually end. This change will be welcomed enthusiastically, and our national mood will be much better.

So give thanks this year too, for what we have preserved. Our country has gotten through wars and a Depression, and we’ll get through this too. That is something to be truly grateful for on this special holiday.



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