I am thankful for the Founding Fathers, who, imperfect as they were, still found the means and imagination to craft the document that would establish America as the world’s first modern liberal democracy; a nation where power derives not from god-appointed kings or priests, but from the people; a nation where people are free to believe or not believe; a nation where state-sponsored religion will never have a place, or a means, by which to oppress the people.
I am thankful for Barack Obama and Joe Biden and our current administration; I am thankful that we have four more years of Barack Obama’s presidency to look forward to, so that he can continue his work of the first term, steering America out of the morass into which our country was driven by unsound Republican policies.
I am thankful that for one more year, Democracy has been saved from the encroaching and relentless darkness of theocracy. Our battle is not over, but each year the electorate becomes younger and more diverse, weakening the Religious Right’s hold on America.
I am thankful that the Democratic Party found its collective cojones in 2012, and rather than apologizing for telling the truth, doubled down on the truth, forcing even the mainstream media to cover Republican extremism.
I am thankful that voters in Florida saw fit to rid us all of the bigoted Allen West. West epitomized Republican both in his obstinacy in placing the demands of ideology over the facts on the ground, and in his swinish behavior.
I am thankful that the 2012 election gave America more diversity in Congress – at least to the left of the political spectrum – leaving all the white folks on the right while we gain ethnic, religious, and gender diversity on the left.
I am thankful for the prominent and dynamic liberal women who were elected, including especially Elizabeth Warren, and for the manner in which the State of New Hampshire made history by going all women, sending to congress four women – two to the House and two to the Senate – as well as electing a woman as governor.
I am thankful for finding a spot in the graduate program at a university, and for the opportunity to study cybersecurity; and I am thankful for finding a professor who, when the chips were down, believed in me and gave me the opportunity to sink or swim on my own merits, and not according to a pre-determined schedule.
I am thankful for my gods and for my ancestors, whose deeds brought me to where I am as their descendent and inheritor, and for my opportunity to stand in my place among the line of my people, the tru-folk, leading into the future. I hope that I shall be proved worthy of them when the final accounting is done, for in the end, we are our deeds.
I am thankful to live in a country where I am free to embrace my religious beliefs more or less openly, and hope that as we move into the future the freedom to believe or not to believe becomes stronger than the forces of oppression, and that the neck-lock of true-false distinction in religion can be broken forever on these shores.
I am thankful for the doctors, who, two-and-a-half years ago, saved me from death at the hands of a faulty heart valve. I am thankful for my heart surgeon who pestered the nurses day and night for two weeks as I lay sedated and fighting for life in an ICU, and to the nurses themselves, who helped keep me alive to continue the good fight.
I am thankful for my family, who stick with me through thick and through thin; who have endured my moods and my frustrations as I struggle with the negativity I am dosed with daily by delving too deeply into conservative politics and religion. They give me the strength to go on. Nothing will so focus you on what needs to be done as looking at your small children and thinking about what future awaits them in the event of a Republican theocracy. Study history at your own risk and see if you ever sleep peacefully again.
I am thankful for my fellow writers here at PoliticusUSA, and for our editors, who collectively “boldly go” where the mainstream media will not. I am thankful in particular to Jason Easley and Sarah Jones, who gave me the opportunity to write here, the freedom to write wherever my imagination takes me, and the freedom to make this my home, and to RMuse, for being my brother in spirit if not in blood.
I am thankful for you, our readers, who read and comment and offer your thoughts and ideas, creating here, in this virtual environment, the dynamic give-and-take so essential to American democracy, a free exchange of ideas. It is out of this process that consensus comes: not from the top-down imposition of a party platform written by extremists, but from the bottom up, in the voices of the people.
I am even thankful for the clueless Evangelical Christian extremists – our very own American Taliban – who, staring facts in the face, retreat into fantasies instead; persisting in the belief that this is their country and their country alone, and that they have the right to tell all Americans how to live. If we didn’t have extremists like you, we wouldn’t truly be able to appreciate the freedom the Constitution grants us, or fear the slavery that awaits us, should we ever slacken off on our watch.
Lastly, I am thankful for another day under this sun and these skies to do what needs to be done, to enjoy not only my rights and freedoms as an American, but to shoulder the burdens and responsibilities of citizenship, including not only my right, but my duty, to speak out and be heard, and most of all, to listen.
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.