On this Thanksgiving Day:
Be thankful for a bountiful harvest and the blessing of a reliable, abundant and safe food supply. Be mindful that one of the consequences of bumper crops is low commodity prices, which are hurting too many Minnesotans.
Be thankful for the hard work of the farmers and food industry workers who keep granaries full and larders well stocked. Be mindful that even in the midst of plenty, too many Americans go hungry.
Be thankful for the opportunity to shape the destiny of this state and nation by voting and participating in the political process. Be mindful that one out of four eligible Minnesotans did not vote in the 2016 general election, and their failure to participate weakens democracy’s legitimacy.
Be thankful that as tumultuous as the election was, we once again will see a peaceful transfer of power in the New Year, a cherished tradition that shows our commitment to democratic values. Be mindful that democracy is an ongoing struggle, and stay informed and engaged as we move into a new era.
Be thankful for the natural beauty and bounty of Minnesota. Be mindful that the quality of this state’s signature resource, its water, is threatened, with 40 percent of the state’s lakes, rivers and streams impaired by pollution, according to a July 2016 state inventory.
Be thankful for the Minnesotans who were willing to serve this state by seeking and filling elective offices. Be mindful that in scores of communities this year, offices went unfilled because no candidate sought them, putting the health of local governments at risk.
Be thankful that the recovery from the 2008-10 recession continues, with median incomes in Minnesota finally topping pre-recession levels. Be mindful that the median incomes of nonwhite Minnesotans remain significantly lower than those of the white majority, even as the nonwhite share of the state population grows.
Be thankful that Minnesota’s natural resources include world-class talents such as Prince and Bob Dylan. Be mindful of the need to nurture the next generation of artists. And, to ensure that, make sure not to wait until after a superstar’s death to let him know how much his music means. Prince, we wish you could have seen your hometown bathed in purple light before you died.
Be thankful that Minnesotans have long shared a noble goal: ensuring access to the state’s world-class medical care. Be mindful, as the efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act intensify, that going backward on health care coverage is unacceptable. The state’s best minds will need to come together to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Be thankful that our state is known for its intelligence and generosity in helping immigrants adapt to their new homeland. Be mindful that terrorists continue to recruit vulnerable young people from here and that Minnesotans’ energy must not flag in thwarting these predators.
Be thankful for the freedom of religion enshrined in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Be mindful that this applies to all religions, not just Christianity.
Be thankful for the valuable contributions that Minnesota’s American Indian communities make to our state’s rich culture and heritage. Be mindful of the need to honor treaties and promises about land, education and health made long ago. The years do not diminish these obligations.
Be thankful that President Obama’s campaign to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is advancing. Be mindful of the troops — including U.S. “boots on the ground” — who risk their lives trying to liberate innocent citizens from ISIL’s brutal terror.
Be thankful for a wondrous decline in the most extreme levels of poverty around the world — the upside of an era often dominated by economic frustrations. According to the World Bank, the portion of global population living on less than $1.90 a day (adjusted for inflation) plummeted by almost three-fourths in the past 25 years, from 37 percent in 1990 to under 10 percent in 2015. It means about 2 billion fewer people are today enduring that worst level of want than would be if the 1990 rate had continued. Be mindful that elsewhere rising inequality and stagnant living standards are causing real distress, political backlash and international tensions.
Be thankful for a lingering fall, with all the pleasures that brings in a northern state. Be mindful that winter is upon us, and its struggles are sharpened for those who lack warm clothes and adequate shelter.
Be thankful that protest remains a right and an active exercise in the freedom upon which this country was founded. Be mindful that with that right comes the responsibility to remain respectful of others and observe lawful boundaries.
Be thankful for the time spent with friends and loved ones this holiday season. Be mindful that some will toil while most of us feast — including doctors, nurses, retail clerks, police officers and firefighters.
The Editorial Board remains thankful for the loyal readers and advertisers who support the Star Tribune. We are mindful that providing editorial leadership and thoughtful commentary is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.