From the Star Tribune Editorial Board on Thanksgiving Day 2019:
Be thankful for the staggering abundance of modern American life, arrayed on dinner tables across the nation today, and displayed on store shelves awaiting the holiday season shopping spree that begins for many tonight (perhaps regrettably). Be mindful of the poverty and hunger that remain amid the plenty.
Be thankful for those with whom you share today’s festivities; don’t take even one of them for granted. Be mindful that loneliness and isolation is a hidden plague of our time. Be kinder than necessary whenever you can.
Be thankful for simple pleasures: a good meal, a good book, family and friends who care. Be mindful that not all have those pleasures.
Be thankful you live in a society in which you can freely read, listen to and speak about nearly anything. Be mindful that many do not enjoy such freedoms and that some risk their lives in protesting or escaping to obtain what we have.
Be thankful for U.S. troops, diplomats and civil servants, especially those spending Thanksgiving away, often in difficult posts. Be mindful that the selfless sacrifice of some of these public servants has come into question in an increasingly polarized political environment.
Be thankful for student activists, like Greta Thunberg and those in our own communities, who are willing to speak up on climate change and gun violence. Be mindful that it shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of the younger generation to solve problems they inherited.
Be thankful for America’s continuing, post-Great Recession economic expansion, which became the longest recovery on record last summer. Be mindful that some period of harder times inevitably will return, and respond with prudence in private affairs and political demands alike.
Be thankful to live at a time when detailed policy stances can be found on many campaign websites, even as candidates themselves follow the time-tested strategy (and human tendency) of speaking in generalities. Be mindful, as voters, of the responsibility to seek out those written specifics.
Be thankful — yes, thankful — for tensions between the established and the new. Be mindful that systems in need of improvement quite likely began as solutions themselves.
Be thankful for the tension between the challenging and setting of boundaries. Be mindful of how easily the benefits of each can be squandered through the competing sins of abuse and hypersensitivity.
Be thankful for microorganisms, which are literally teeming in our bodies and environment, helping things to function. (Be thankful, too, for their invisibility to the naked eye?) Be mindful that not all of them are good, from our point of view, and that they can adapt to overused defenses.
Be thankful for the marvels of modern life, from the enriching, empowering digital devices that keep us ever connected to a world of information, entertainment, communication and commerce, to lifesaving drugs and medical interventions, to the everyday wonders of electricity and modern transportation that have freed humankind from ancient tyrannies of distance and darkness. Be mindful that all these benefits come with costs and risks, to the environment, to society, to our peace of mind.
Be thankful for the spectacular natural resources, such as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, that Minnesota is blessed with. Be mindful of our obligation to protect them so that future generations may enjoy the beauty and peace these areas bring.
Be thankful for the band of passionate insulin advocates who have pushed Minnesota’s political leaders to the brink of a special session. Be mindful that even if a deal is struck to provide this lifesaving medication to those who can’t afford it, there are other vital drugs too often priced out of reach.
Be thankful for snowblowers and strong backs when the next snowfall covers your driveway or sidewalk. Be mindful that neighbors may not be so blessed with these assets. Lend a hand when you can to clear the way and brighten a day.
Be thankful for those who labor on this and other holidays — from hospital staffs and police, to firefighters and prison guards, to retail workers and even journalists. Be mindful that unemployment, disability or business reversals darken some lives even in bustling times.
The Editorial Board is thankful for the support of the Star Tribune’s loyal readers and advertisers. We are mindful that providing this state and region with editorial leadership and thoughtful commentary that includes a wide range of viewpoints is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.