Nel's New Day

November 22, 2012

My Thanks for 2012

Thanksgiving is a time that I express gratitude for the people around me, family and friends, who enrich my life. One special joy is the couple who comes from the city to celebrate their anniversary with us. Because the country and our state don’t have marriage equality, they, like us, are not legally married, but we still have our traditions. This year, as several times in the past, another friend came with her pies, and a local friend dropped by after her dinner with other friends.

This year, however, my gratitude goes far beyond my immediate family. The recent election, in which the majority of people voted for the president, Senate members, and House members, has given hope for the betterment of the United States. Because of gerrymandering in the “red states,” the House still has a majority of Republicans, but I take comfort in knowing that more people in the country voted for progressives than regressives.

Thanks to this recent vote, the country will not rush off to start wars the way it might have if  Mitt Romney’s hawkish advisers got their way. The military will not be forced to take an extra $2 trillion that they believe they don’t need. Dick Cheney won’t be back.

For another four years the Supreme Court is safely split between conservatives and liberals with one moderate (in the past a conservative) making most of the decisions. The Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land, and abortion will stay legal although conservatives will do everything they can to prevent it. Women will be able to get free contraception for their personal family planning.

Money won’t be taken from the poor and middle class to go to the wealthy, and the safety net will remain for people who don’t have the advantages that the rest of us do. The Dream Act stays in place; young people who were brought here illegally as children will not be forced into deportation.

LGBT rights will move forward instead of backward, possibly even evolving into marriage equality. The Departments of Energy and Education and Housing and all the others that conservatives wanted to eliminate will remain.

Unions can keep struggling on, and religion won’t overtake the country in the next four years. During that time, the demonization of teachers and other government workers may be reversed.

The Tea Party is weaker than ever. Their determination to dig themselves deeper into their holes may result in a cave-in of hate. This year’s election proved that money does not buy everything. Eighty percent of super PAC money went to conservative candidates, but most of those supported by the conservative PACs lost. People like Joe Walsh and Allen West will not be on Capitol Hill in January.

I’m grateful that there is one house in the United States that Romney cannot buy.

Grover Norquist, who blackmailed almost all Republican Congresspeople into signing a pledge of no new taxes under any circumstances, is losing his clout. A dozen newly elected House Republicans refused to sign the anti-tax pledge during their campaigns, and another handful of returning Republicans have disavowed their allegiance to the written commitment. In addition Democrats picked up eight seats. Fewer than the 218 members needed for a majority vote are now Grover followers. The Senate has the same non-Grover majority with only 39 pledge signers. In the 112th Congress, the House had 238 Grover followers and the Senate had 41.

I am grateful for all the people willing to stand in line, sometimes up to eight hours and sometimes in freezing temperatures, who refuse to be told that they can’t vote. And I appreciate the people who found open polls despite the conservatives’ misinformation about where and when voters could cast their ballots.

Equal marriage rights made huge gains in the country during the past year with the first popular vote in favor of same-sex marriage in not just one but three states. The one-year study on the effects of gays and lesbians openly serving in the military was very positive, showing no difficulties. I give thanks to people willing to vote for LGBT people and issue, to recognize these as part of the community at large.

Voters alsorejected anti-woman candidates such as Todd Akins (“legitimate rape”) and Richard Mourdock (“gift of rape”) and racist candidates such as Scott Brown who tried to destroy his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, by painting her as a liar about her Native American heritage, meanwhile ridiculing it.

I am grateful to the man who was elected president and his courage in the face of racist lies and threats. In the end, he won—and decisively–over the man who sneered at 47 percent of the people in the United States–the poor and disadvantaged–not only before the election but also after it. Because of the 53 percent of the people in the country who voted for Barack Obama, we will not spend four years with a president who started as a bully in his prep school and continued the practice during much of his life.

This year, perhaps more than any other, the choice was truly one of vision. The country is at a turning point: it can go forward or self-destruct. Thanks to all the people who understood this and voted, we can now move forward.

Today is Thanksgiving Day 2012. Tomorrow, November 23, is Native American Heritage Day, designated by President Obama in 2009 “to honor the contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural and historical legacy of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States and their descendants: the American Indian and Alaska Native people.” I am grateful to the indigenous peoples of the United States who helped the immigrants four centuries ago to survive. The Presidential Proclamation identifies the entire month of November as a time to celebrate and honor Native Americans while never forgetting that there are “parts of our shared history that have been marred by violence and tragic mistreatment” and that “for centuries, Native Americans faced cruelty, injustice, and broken promises.”

“Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” – Winston Churchill

1 Comment »

  1. Beautiful.


    Comment by lynchly — November 22, 2012 @ 9:21 PM | Reply

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