Thoughts on Thanksgiving Week

David Peck

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, perhaps the most wonderful of all holidays, I sometimes wonder: Are we truly grateful? Are we in a frame of mind to give thanks?
Though we live in the greatest nation on earth, we sometimes tend to whine and complain about things, rather than simply appreciating the many blessings in our lives.
In the current political climate, keyboard warriors criticize others with bitter discourse, a raging fire fueled by social media and the ease of electronically lashing out at others – pick, pick, picking away, constantly incensed, spewing hateful rhetoric.
Perhaps I’m overstating things a bit, at least for folks around here. The generally congenial souls of Wyoming tend to treat one another with respect, but that could be, in part, due to the generally homogenous nature of our demographics.
As for society in general, I just don’t understand the seething discontent, and I’m not talking about the big things. We should be raging against injustice or corruption or violence or hatred.
But it’s the little things we tend to whine about, when about 95 percent of the world would give anything to live just like us.
It’s far too easy to sit back and criticize others, to complain about how things ought to be and wondering why someone doesn’t do something. Well, how about you? Why can’t the complainer roll up his sleeves and go to work fixing something? Attend a meeting. Take a stand. Do something proactive.
I often wonder if our system of government is broken beyond repair. Rather than a spirit of negotiation, even compromise, our “leaders” dig in their heels and launch fiery rhetoric at the other side, the so-called enemy, even though we’re supposed to be on the same side. I suppose it’s always been that way to a certain extent (check out the Jefferson vs. Adams political battles of the early 19th century if you want some political fireworks), but it seems as if our governing hearts are hardened more than ever before.
I think it’s a symptom of walling ourselves off in our respective philosophical fortresses, fed by a steady stream of rhetoric that tells us we must give no quarter to the enemy, “those people” on the other side of whatever issue. The internet and ratings-based cable news feeds this way of seeing those with a differing view as evil, a foe to crush.
Let’s do a couple of things this Thanksgiving Week. Let us give thanks that we live in Wyoming, as beautiful and free a place as any state in the union with, I believe, an unmatched quality of life. I give thanks daily that I live here.
Let us also turn off the bitter discourse, sit back and simply enjoy each other, even those we don’t agree with. Some of my best friends stand on the opposite side of political issues from me, but I enjoy them immensely. Same with family members.
Let’s practice tolerance and respect for others. What’s the use in living in the great melting pot that is America if we always want things to boil over? Let’s listen and learn, strive to understand. Can we truly love those different than ourselves?
When I was a small child, a Sunday school teacher had us make little baked slates with a Bible verse carved in the clay turned pottery. Mine read, “God shows no partiality.” (Romans 2:11) My mom hung it on a wall in our home.
Can we say the same?
Have a happy and blessed thanksgiving. I am truly thankful for all of you, our readers. May you all enjoy a few restful, loving days with friends and family.