Thanksgiving is here! It’s my favorite secular holiday. I like Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday which brings people together over nothing more complicated than a moderately complicated meal. It’s also the holiday which brings out fundamental generosity, in the form of welcoming strangers, delivering food, serving at a shelter, etc.
For me, Thanksgiving 2015 carries special significance. The past 12 months or so have presented many challenges. Personally and professionally, nothing looks very much like it did a year ago. People tell me change is good, but I’m not sure many of them have “done it” recently. That all said, life is good now, it gets better every day, and I only hope I haven’t hurt anyone too badly.
Right now, I am especially thankfully for my namesake, Max.* Max joined me about 100 hours ago. But for a serious case of car sickness, he’s Some Dog. He came to me as Dumas, through Petfinder.com and Valley of the Sun Giant Schnauzer Rescue. He’s part Schnauzer, part Petit Griffon Basset Vendeen. (He’s an outlier for the rescue group, as the only giant part of him is his sweet heart.)
My thanks aside, I’m very worried. I’m worried for our country. In my lifetime I have never seen a mix of xenophobia, misinformation, and just plain stupid like the one we’re living with right now. I won’t go into details today—on the day before Thanksgiving, that would be akin to desecrating the Sabbath—but I’m really, really troubled.
We—and that includes people from every part of the political spectrum—believe we are blessed to be Americans, and that includes those of us who think our national ethos is often “over the top, full of itself.” Speaking for myself, much of our national attitude drives me nuts, but I also know I can count on one hand the number of countries where I might enjoy the good fortune I experience in the United States of America.
So what troubles me is the evident mismatch between the froth of ugly we can’t avoid, the fact that we are blessed, and the “we’re the best” attitude. I wonder, every day, how Donald Trump can reconcile his bile and being thankful for the chance to be as rich as he is. And how so many who think he’s suitable to lead our nation find so much wrong with the greatest nation ever, ever, ever!
There will be more writing on this broad subject in the coming days. For now, though, I’m focused on the thanks I have for the wonderful people who make up my broad network of family, friends, and acquaintances, and for the opportunities I’ve had to see if I can make a difference in this world.
*I am named after my grandfather, Max Rubin. Alas, in the 1950s Max was an out-of-favor name for children, so Max became Mark.