From the Star Tribune Editorial Board on Thanksgiving Day 2020:
Be thankful for the family and friends whose company you miss today, of whom you have seen too little these many months. To have people in your life whose absence stings is an incalculable blessing. Be mindful that many in our society — more than ever, research suggests — live in loneliness year in and year out, without even loved ones to miss.
Be thankful for the multiple efforts to bring the homeless in from outside, from providing hotel space and creating tiny rooms in Minneapolis to converting a hospital to housing in St. Paul. Be mindful that demand still far exceeds supply.
Be thankful for our state’s fertile fields and hardworking farmers everywhere who provided the food on our holiday tables. Be mindful that hunger still exists, and that help can be found at mn.gov/dhs/food-emergency or the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 1-888-711-1151.
Although the attention is fueled by tragic events such as George Floyd’s death in police custody, be thankful that so many Americans are engaged in deep examinations of the nation’s tortured history of unequal treatment of people of color. Be mindful that making meaningful progress will require continued attention and action.
Be thankful for the brilliance and dedication harnessed in the swift global drive to develop COVID-19 vaccines. Be mindful that widespread inoculation is key to success and be wary of disinformation about safety and efficacy.
Be thankful for the world-class medical providers and other first responders who call Minnesota home. Be mindful of the strain they are under and the time they are spending away from their families.
Be thankful for the Minnesota educators who have been working in uncertain circumstances, learning on the fly how to quickly transition between in-person and distance learning. Be mindful that their heroics often come at a personal cost to the teachers, who deserve society’s gratitude.
Be thankful if you are one of those who has been able to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Be mindful that many are not as fortunate and must venture out daily to provide the food, health care, public safety, transportation and other essentials we all depend on.
Be thankful for the videoconferencing technology that allowed us to get together virtually in 2020, providing humor along the way as we all stumbled through the learning curve — often on “mute.” Thanks, too, to the kids and pets who made unexpected cameo appearances. Be mindful to try to stay in contact with far-flung family and friends after the pandemic is over.
Be thankful for everyday wonders of modern life we take for granted — running hot and cold water, heating and air conditioning, electricity, decent roads, fresh vegetables 12 months a year, aspirin and antibiotics and other medical marvels — look around, make your own list. Be mindful that most humans who ever lived (like millions alive today) lacked these things.
In a time when many of life’s big moments are on hold, be thankful for the small ones — a hot cup of tea, the smell of a winter morning, a joyous piece of music. Be mindful that we can acknowledge our grief at what we missed this year while also recognizing opportunities to be glad.
Be thankful that this country once again held free and fair elections that withstood intense scrutiny. Be mindful that the work of democracy is hard, and that vigilance and courage are required to maintain our freedoms.
Be thankful that Minnesota appears once again to have registered the highest voter turnout rate in America in 2020, at 79.9%, far above the (itself robust) 66.6% turnout nationwide. Be mindful that surging turnout in many places may have owed something to political tensions, fears and polarization that we could stand to see diminish.
Be thankful for the more than 77 million Americans who volunteer their time, talents and energy for a range of purposes. Be mindful that this represents a bit more than a quarter of the total 12-and-older population that ostensibly could give back.
Be thankful for steady rises in charitable giving, including a record $30.4 million on the 12th annual Give to the Max Day in Minnesota last week. Be mindful that the average $2,500 given by American households generally each year is about on par with the amount spent on entertainment.
Be thankful for the optimism of the stock market, a forward-looking measure that has risen steadily from its pandemic lows, producing a year-to-date positive return. Be mindful that more than 80% of the market’s value is estimated to be held by the top 10% of its participants.
Be thankful for the continuing gifts of music, arts and other forms of entertainment that nurture our minds and souls. Be mindful that artists need our financial support in these challenging times.
Be thankful for the numerous wilderness areas and parks in Minnesota. Be mindful that these sanctuaries aren’t guaranteed. We must protect them from climate change to ensure future generations have the same luxury.
The Editorial Board is thankful for the Star Tribune’s loyal readers and advertisers. We are mindful that providing quality opinion journalism that includes a range of viewpoints is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.