We give thanks

This newspaper will be on the stands for Thanksgiving Day, and if there was ever a time this country needed help seeing the bright spots in a universe of dark matter, this is it. So here we go with 10 things for which we can be grateful.

1. The price of gas has come down at a time when we really needed low gas prices. This is proof of how market forces can establish market prices. Remember the summer when most experts were predicting higher and higher prices? Many feared that the increases would affect the aged and those on fixed incomes when it was time to pay for heating fuel. It may be cold comfort when you consider that reduced use of petrochemicals to help reduce global warming wasn’t enough to affect the supply and demand formula, but hey, we’ll have our cake and eat it, too.

2. Our families are healthy. Sure, maybe the flu is making its rounds, and there are those of us who suffer from more serious maladies, but somehow mostly we get from day to day without a visit to the hospital.

3. America has turned a corner on racism. Say what you will about leadership experience, the election of Barack Obama shows the world that America is still the place where an individual can grow from humble beginnings to take the most powerful position in the history of the world. We did it, America. We have a long way to go, but this change would not and did not happen in the 20th century. No matter how Obama’s administration turns out, his election says something to millions of children and generations to come of families the world over.

4. Turkey is tasty.

5. So is tofu.

6. The recognition of the rights of individuals to be who they are has never been stronger. Maybe Proposition 8 in California emboldened the haters, but it also strengthened the resolve of millions of Americans who don’t believe that the government or society should have the power to decide who we, as individuals, love and commit to. In 2000, Californians voted against same-gender marriage by 23 percentage points. This year, it was 5 percent. Minds are changing. Again, gay individuals could not have their relationship publicly and legally recognized in any state in the 20th century. Take pride and be thankful for what we’ve accomplished in this millenium.

7. The approaching end of the Bush administration, and the restoration of our Constitutional liberties.

8. Snow falling from gray skies.

9. Science progresses. OK, maybe we’re not living in Utopia, but then, it appears we’re not living in 1984, either. Does it seem the Progressive tsunami of the last election booted Creationism back to those superstitious think tanks who would force your children to study someone else’s religious doctrine? When the potential of stem cell research is examined, hundreds of thousands of Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, spinal injuries, even the loss of organs are looking at the possibility of a new day dawning.

10. Hope.