Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. It is uniquely American, not based on either ethnicity or religion, and is a reminder to us that we have much to be thankful for. America has been, for the third century in a row, the land of opportunities and promises. I understand all the promises to everyone are yet to be achieved but it is a journey with its progress and setbacks.
On this day I always first focus on my family and thank God for all His blessings. Between my wife and me - in our blended family - we have six lovely children, four great sons-in-law and daughters-in-law (more like children) and twelve grandchildren (a lopsided ratio of nine grandsons and three granddaughter). Most recent additions have been two lovely girls adopted from Bangladesh by my oldest daughter and her husband.
There are reasons children's kids are called GRAND. They bring us all the joys in the world,but our children have all the challenges of raising the kids ---sweet revenge from us and God's way of completing the circle.
We are all celebrating this Thanksgiving together after a break of three years. The past three years we honoredour children's request and understandable concerns for us older people with less immunity and underlying health conditions. We all stayed in our respective homes. This Thanksgiving, therefore, wasspecial --- we are grateful for our health and wellbeing compared to all the millions around the world who have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, hunger, and homelessness. Covid-19 deaths may have tapered down, but hunger and homelessness remain. Additional problem of inflation and supply shortages continue to plague the most vulnerable among us.
In a curious sort of way this pandemic held a mirror in front of all our faces. It affirmed once again that our futures are tied together. It also showed that we cannot escape pandemics unless all nations coordinate their healthcare policies. It also demonstrated inequity and inequality within countries and among the countries. There is increased realization that environment is all our collective responsibility. In a world of increasing inequality, the rich cannot insulate themselves from COVID-19 (or its future versions) or breathe sanitized air exclusively. I am reminded of a much-quoted line from President Kennedy inaugural address in January of 1961 - "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."
Fortunately, I see a bright future ahead in the eyes of younger people. Philosophically and emotionally, they are ready to function in a post-racial society as evidenced by the thousands of young white men and women who marched alongside minorities in support of Black Lives Matter movement and voted in increasing numbers in the most recent midterm elections in the USA. Progressive pro-environment forces also won in the Brazil elections. Young people are uniformly and universally concerned about environment and strongly believe in equal opportunity for all.
While most people see election resultsthe United States as a nation divided but I see instead the upside in the vast number of young people exercising their voting rights for the first time as well as women asserting their rights. In the US Congress the torch is being passed to a new generation of leaders, legislators in their low 'fifties are replacing Nancy Pelosi and her associates of octogenarians. Next Biden and Trump need to go into voluntary or involuntary retirement.
Sometimes it takes Americans a little longer to figure things out but ultimately sanity, good judgment, decency, and a deep sense of caring and volunteerism prevail. This Thanksgiving we are coming back to that path. The writer is the founding & professor at the Graham School of Management, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, USA
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