These past few weeks have been very difficult for many of us. For the first time in my long life, I fear that our country is going backward, not forward. We have had bumps along the way and regressions from our ideals and dreams. We have had too many wars. We have way too much poverty. We have too much indifference to the sufferings of others. But throughout my life, I have thought that we were moving in the right direction, incrementally but surely. Not now.
This election has been a source of great anxiety for me and many others. We were not prepared for a candidate like Trump, for a man who blithely lied throughout the campaign and who appealed to the basest instincts of the electorate and made promises that he had no intention of keeping. We were not prepared to believe that a man with so many business failures and ethical lapses could be elected president. We–I, especially–did not believe that the American people would fall for his promises, his lies, and his bombast. He was selling snake oil and he knew it. Didn’t everyone see it? They didn’t, and now we face the prospect of a government made up of retreads from previous Republican administrations and denizens of the far-right underground. Who knew that Trump’s promise of “change” meant that the editor of Breitbart news would have an office in the West Wing? Who knew that “change” meant an Attorney General who was turned down by a Republican-led Senate for a federal judgeship because of his racist remarks and actions? Who knew that “change” meant the appointment of a billionaire ideologue, a rightwing extremist committed to replacing public schools with vouchers and charters?
Instead of fresh faces and new ideas, we get an administration determined to roll back the New Deal and return to the 1920s or the 1890s.
Ah, but we still have much to be thankful for.
I am thankful, to begin with, for life. I have had many physical challenges in the past few years, some of them life-threatening, but I am still here.
I am thankful for my loving partner, Mary, who shares my life and helps me survive from day to day.
I am thankful for my children and grandchildren, who give me great joy. I am grateful that I can watch them grow in maturity and goodness and kindness.
I am thankful for my five living brothers and sister and sorely miss the brother and sister who died far too soon.
I am thankful to be an American, to live in a country where we have a Constitution and the First Amendment and the rule of law to protect our freedoms.
I am thankful to live in a society where we can organize and assemble to speak out for what we believe.
I am thankful for my friends, who have stood by me through thick and thin.
I am thankful for those who read my writings and those who publish them.
I am thankful for my friends at the Network for Public Education who are passionate about resisting the privatization of public schools.
I am thankful for the many people who want to make America the nation of liberty, justice, and equality for all that it is supposed to be.
We will organize, we will assemble, we will write, we will speak, we will make documentaries, we will write plays, we will write parodies and satires, we will paint and draw and sing and laugh. They can’t stop us. We will not acquiesce. We will resist. We will defend our ideals and our dreams.
We will fight to protect our public schools. We will not let the Trump administration privatize them. They belong to the public and we will not allow them to steal public funds for private profit or private purposes.
Today is a day to thank God for our blessings. (If you are an atheist, just be thankful.)
Count your blessings.