A friend was deciding whether or not to write his holiday letter to family and friends this year, musing that nothing much noteworthy had happened in 2013.
I mentioned his steady growth in business, his accomplished goals in exercise, and his trip. I don’t have family with which to exchange letters, but I, too, could count many blessings in my life. As we chatted, it became clear that there were plenty of plusses to add to our bounty once we stopped thinking about those things we didn’t have.
On the most basic level, I have shelter, food and clean water. I have friends and companionship and 900 book-filled square feet to call home. Looking beyond my own bailiwick, I’m extremely fortunate that I live in a state that has now made it possible for all its adult citizens to find that special partner, of whatever gender, marry, and create homes and families. Whether I personally want to marry or not, I now legally have that right.
It’s good to give thanks during this holiday season, and while at times it may seem excessive and overdone to keep harping on our sufficiency, there is a darker, compelling reason as well. Even as we enjoy our good fortune here in Minnesota, there are many in America working tirelessly to take away those very things, removing rights gained, while keeping the have-nots from moving up into a dignified life.
Consider those dragging voter registration back to the 1960s, working to keep the minimum wage at poverty levels, and scheming to repeal existing laws granting equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. Transgender acceptance, still, is all too frequently denied. Kathy Svenson of the Delta County (Colorado) School Board recently dismissed the idea of allowing trans students in her district stating, “Not until the plumbing’s changed. There would have to be castration in order to pass something like that around here.” She’s thinking transwomen here, obviously, and did not mention “requirements” for transmen.
So continue to examine your life and give thanks for all that you have. It’s a worthwhile practice in and of itself, but consider it a proactive endeavor and keep an eye on the cold equations of reality. Eternal vigilance is still the price of freedom.