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A very different Thanksgiving this year, both personal and professional
My dear TAT readers, family and friends,
Today’s TAT will revolve around my very favorite holiday, without a close second. On an administrative note, barring any more major changes to the already perilous, global threat situations, this will be the only post this week. I may attempt to sneak in a short one if possible but, when it comes to being fully present with loved ones, in person or afar, my focus will be on them. It’s not that I don’t care about our current situation, but when I always write about threats, I need to re-ground myself occasionally, in what matters most.
First and foremost, I wish every human being, the very warmest wishes, for what I have long defined as the most common of human desires, “to be safe, along with family, have food to eat and to dance at our children’s weddings.” These wishes are far more heartfelt, than you can imagine.
Like so many of my friends and colleagues, I have had my share of Thanksgivings in combat zones, doing our best to make families safe from terrorism, oppression and worse. I cherish being thankful on many levels, some very deeply embedded in my heart and soul. The opportunity for thankfulness… is a gift, not afforded to all. So long as evil has an upper hand anywhere, gratitude suffers everywhere. Today, I will take a very different approach to this most heartfelt, favorite holiday.
I will begin with being thankful for what appears to be a better trend in health matters within family and loved ones, that occupied so much of the year. Some of my most cherished family, has struggled this year and as we near the end of 2023, we have a mountain of thanks to offer for the improving trends. Whomever you give thanks to and how you go about it, make it heartfelt. It matters. I follow this simple rule… meticulously.
Now, as tragic and avoidable as the global and domestic threats are these days, let’s look for a few of the rays of sunshine. These “rays” will revolve around many of the topics that I have written about this year, and offer us enough hope to be grateful for.
I am thankful that in a world, nearly overwhelmed with the evil of fascism, terrorism, genocide and more, just a few years ago, that the trend is abating, albeit too slowly to alleviate the intense suffering of hundreds of millions of our globe’s human beings. To be blunt, the trend now is, “that the good guys are just beginning to win again.” The signs are faint, but they are there.
In the short items below, please begin each phrase in bold with, I am grateful for:
The remarkable courage and determination of the Ukrainian people, with massive support from the world’s most ethical nations, has given Putin, his comeuppance in the most humiliating way. The cost has been enormous in lives and resources but for this investment, Putin’s Russia has been reduced dramatically to a relative third world power although Putin still has control of his nukes. US national security and that of our NATO allies, has been greatly enhanced, by the courage and sacrifice of these Ukrainian heroes. Slava Ukraini!
Ours and NATO’s support must not only be sustained but be expanded so that Putin’s version of Russia, has little to no capability to continue to threaten the world’s innocent nations. There is still a long way to go, even against the soulless, misinformed who are opposed here in the states, to what this means to our own national security.
That due to Putin’s dramatic decline in power status terms, Xi’s China Dream strategy for global domination, has hit a massive roadblock. To make things worse for Xi, he has tanked his own economy with one ridiculous strategic mistake after another and the world is finally taking notice about his manner of conquest. This includes theft of IP/ intellectual property, military intimidation from official PLA/ PLN, Chinese Coast Guard vessels and state sponsored “fishing fleets.” Most of all, where Xi goes, human rights fail on a massive scale.
That financing of authoritarian of far right/ authoritarian nations and political parties is coming under far more intense legal scrutiny from authorities. The world run by oligarchs and not just Russian, has proved to underlay so much of the evil we are facing as a nation and as a member of the international community. Some examples coming under ever-increasing scrutiny are:
Big oil’s near half century influence campaign to undermine climate change science that has created massive cost to our government and driven the mass suffering that has impacted everyone. It is a driving factor in global migration that some wish to “build a wall” to prevent. People are literally dying in droves from these, greed-driven decisions.
Dark money donations enabled by the now infamous “Citizens United” decision by our activist SCOTUS have expanded the influence of elite wealth individuals and corporations to give them more latitude legally, to reap higher profits and power on the backs of taxpayers.
It has come to the point that elite wealth, made far wealthier by their influence in Congress is now making policy decisions that are not in line, with US values, and exacerbates suffering for citizens whose backs are breaking under the tax load.
Internationally, often in conjunction with US and Western oligarchs, our only planet is being brutalized to the point that it will not offer our children, grandchildren and beyond, but a fraction of sustainable treasures that we grew up with.
There is nothing wrong with working for and making as much money as you deserve but… not at the expense of humanity and with congressional support that gives unfair advantage.
Israel, despite the overwhelming and dishonest, global media blitz against her, is doing as ethical job as possible of eradicating, Iranian supplied, trained and equipped terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah and others, from their genocidal mission against the Jewish people.
That droves of US citizens under the spell of Russian and far-right influence, are beginning to see the light. They are realizing that MAGA is pro-Putin, false patriotism, and an extremist movement that attempted an armed insurrection against the US.
That the world’s scientists solved for vaccines and other medical strategies to protect us from the global pandemic that shut down the global economy while killing more than 7 million human beings.
That daily, we see more innovation, volunteering, cooperation and friendliness between formerly distanced communities, in pursuit of a more humane world.
That nations are just starting to take baby steps, to learn how to put to bed our era of Yellow Journalism 2.0.
That for the first time in a decade, there is a small glow on the horizon to managing the narrative-driven hate and divisiveness of the past decade.
That here in the US, our economy is strong again and more people than ever, will once again, free of the pandemic, travel to be with loved ones for this first holiday of the holiday season. That there will be slightly less touchy issues around more and more holiday tables, and that more of us are employed than ever. All of this, despite the daily propaganda from extremist media, that the sky is falling. Almost all of the factors that economists take seriously, seem to be aligned in the truth of a strong economy.
My friends, this list could go on and on, but I think by now, you understand that in the realm of gratitude, there is more to be grateful now, than since somewhere around November of 2016. I take none of this for granted and am most grateful to those who contributed to the improvements listed above. There is a very long way to go, in order to have buckets of hope filled with bounty but we are finally on the right track, with something to show for it.
As I have said often in my writing, I am a life-long, incurable optimist. I would hope that this article helps more see that optimism is warranted, at least a little bit. This type of optimism is just as contagious as was COVID, before prudent and scientific expertise granted us life-saving reprieves.
As I gather around the table with family this coming Thursday, prayers will be for those suffering under the yoke of genocidal maniacs, authoritarians, thugs, criminals, oligarchs and more. My prayers will also include those that strengthen the resilience of the victims of these immoral thugs. A very special prayer will be for those fighting the good fight, to reset the path our world is on, so that it serves humanity again, and not the needs of those who brutalize humanity and our planet. That’s the fight that I’m all in for, and for those who join, I offer my ultimate gratitude. Every tiny step forward, by every human being… matters.
From our table to yours, with love,