What We're Thankful For

President Obama:

So what are you thankful for? I've compiled some reflections from various people; many of these are from emails, so they are not linked. Along the way, enjoy some Thanksgiving music!

Rep. Gary Peters:

Just this month I had the opportunity to serve, along with my family, friends, and other Oakland County residents, at Lighthouse of Oakland County. We sorted food for families having a tough time right now so that they can still enjoy Thanksgiving meals with their families.

Serving all Oakland County residents in Congress is an honor. But serving struggling families face-to-face is a reminder of what it is we're fighting for in Washington--and how much we all have for which to be thankful.

Daily Kos's Bill in Portland Maine:
Barack Obama is our 44th president and John McCain is not
Joe Biden is our vice president and Sarah Palin is not
That somehow we didn't fall into Great Depression II
The hope of semi-significant healthcare reform

(more from Bill here)

Thanksgiving Medley: We Gather Together, For the Beauty of the Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come

Sen. Claire McCaskill (on Twitter):
Happy Thanksgiving to all. I'm thankful for so much, especially my family and my country.

Dan Seals:
This Thanksgiving season, Mia and I will be teaching our children about Sarah Hale. She was a remarkable woman who, through the power of the pen, convinced President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. This year, Thanksgiving will be on the exact calendar day, November 26, as the first national Thanksgiving proclaimed by Lincoln nearly 150 years ago.

Over the course of thirty-eight years, Sarah undertook, and engaged others to join her, in a massive letter writing campaign in support of this holiday. None of the four Presidents who preceded Lincoln would listen to her. Along the way, she also advocated for better education for girls and playgrounds for children, she raised five children, she was a prolific writer, and she vehemently opposed slavery. Lincoln became President during one of the darkest chapters of this country’s history. Hale knew Thanksgiving would not stop the Civil War, but believed it would help bring this country together. Lincoln agreed. Thanks to Hale’s deep sense of public service and her dogged determination to stand up for her beliefs, we have a holiday focused on gratitude and celebrating the diversity of cultures.

Ellen DeGeneres:
For me, the most important thing about it is to think about what we're grateful for, right? .... Number one, our friends and ourfamily. Number two, our caller IDs so we can avoid our friends and family ... The big things, the elm trees, the oceans, the oversized sunglasses, the mall things, you know, the dandelions, acorns, Danny DeVito...

First verse with refrain:
For the bread and wine we share here,
For the friends that we embrace,
For the peace we find in healing,
For all who gather in this place,
For the faith of those around us,
For the dead and all those here,
For the hope we find in mem’ry
For the love that draws us near;

We give you thanks, we give you thanks,
For the grace to receive, in you we believe
We give you thanks, we give you thanks
With faith and hope and love, we give you thanks.

Sen. Pat Leahy:
Marcelle and I have so much for which to be thankful.

We are thankful for the health and well-being of our daughter, two sons, two daughters-in-law, son-in-law, and five beautiful grandchildren.

We are thankful for the warmth of our neighbors here in Vermont and our friends around the world -- the old friendships that still flourish even as our lives have changed quite a bit over the decades, and all the new friendships we've made through public service.

We are thankful to our men and women in uniform, especially those who can't be with their families today.

We are thankful to those who came before us, emigrating to this great land, fighting for our freedoms, and building a more prosperous, more just world for each successive generation.

We are thankful for the opportunity Vermonters have given us to continue that legacy, so that we may leave our grandchildren -- and their children -- with a nation and a planet better off than those which we inherited.

Oh, and ScottyUrb:

  • My life
  • My family and friends
  • Our dog, Lucy, and our birds
  • Food and drink
  • Clothing
  • A home
  • Air
  • Water
  • Good health
  • Electricity
  • Humor
  • A computer
  • The Internet
  • A TV
  • This awesome country
  • All of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen
  • A sweet job
  • Attending Central Michigan University
  • The many, many people around the world who have dedicated their lives to making our world a better place
  • President Barack Obama and progressive Democrats


Bits of Tid: November 19, 2009

  • Today is World Toilet Day, Use Less Stuff Day, and Have A Bad Day Day. If you are anywhere near me, please only celebrate Use Less Stuff Day. Maybe World Toilet Day, depending on how you commemorate it.
  • Is marriage itself illegal in Texas? I'm not just talking about gay marriage. I'm talking about marriage in general.
  • Someone made this comment on one of my earlier posts:
    How do you like your change now? Idiot.
    First of all, I do like my change. It's kind of nice to live in a country that is admired on the world stage and whose President cares about the average working person as much as he cares about anyone else. And for you to call me an idiot? Well, for a conservative to say that to me, is such a high compliment!
  • "Unfriend" has been named the 2009 Word of the Year by the Oxford Dictionary.
  • Speaking of which, it's almost "that time of year again" - time for the Lake Superior State University Banished Words List! If you have a word or phrase you'd like to see banished, now's your chance to nominate it!
  • Not to make any of you jealous, but I get to see Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., AND Jennifer Granholm at CMU today!


Bits of Tid: November 18, 2009

  • Today is Mickey Mouse Day, Married to a Scorpio Support Day, and National Education Support Professionals Day.
  • From Daily Kos:
    Steve King (R-IA) chose to miss his son's wedding so could vote against health care reform -- that he knew was going to pass. What an ass.

  • I'm not the biggest fan of polls, but if this one is to be believed, then Sarah Palin just might be the Democrats' dream opponent. Also.
  • Palin will be in Roswell early next month. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.


Election Recap

On a scale of one to ten, this election ranks about a 3. There were plenty of disappointments, but some victories that should be highlighted.

You can guess how the media is framing this: as a big election for Republicans. But let's dig deeper.

I'm not surprised that the Republicans won the New Jersey and Virginia races. Dems had held those governorships for some time now, and neither Jon Corzine nor Creigh Deeds were all that progressive - in other words, they didn't exactly stand up for Democratic values.

Meanwhile, in New York's 23rd Congressional District, President Obama's cunning political strategy of appointing a moderate Republican from a not-so-Republican district to an administration post to get another Dem vote in Congress has paid off. Bill Owens (D) has defeated Conservative Doug Hoffman by a small margin after even the Republican nominee endorsed Owens.


I was disappointed to see Commissioner Jim Jendrasiak lose in Grand Rapids. He is a perennial target for some people, and it's sad to see that they were able to knock him off this time. Next time, Jim!

Speaking of next time, congratulations also are due Ben Barker, the 21-year-old CMU student who came in fifth out of seven candidates. Not bad, considering that (a) this was his first race; (b) he's a student; (c) he ran against the three incumbents, all of whom won; and (d) he outpolled two others. His future is bright! Congratulations also to Bruce Kilmer, an involved Mt. Pleasant Democrat and incumbent Commissioner who won.

And what about Kentwood? The city saw its first contested race for City Commission since 2003, and Mayor Rick Root was unopposed for a third term. (Kentwood has not seen a contested race for mayor since 1997.) The contest was in the second ward. Incumbent Frank Raha III's day job is with Republican State Rep. Dave Hildenbrand, so hearing that he lost to Ray Verwys might not seem all that bad - except for the fact that VerWys is a 'tea party' activist. Only 1,033 votes were cast between those two, as only 6% of those in the 2nd ward showed up.

Southern Michigan played home to both the biggest pleasant surprise (the approval of a gay-rights referendum) and disappointment (Mike Nofs's election to the State Senate) of the night.

What does this all mean?

There are plenty of ways to look at these results.

For one thing, the typically low turnout that we often see in "off-year" elections was seen once again this year. Many people don't realize that the decisions their local leaders make can be even more important than some of those made by the President, Congress, and the like. Our votes for city commission, mayor, etc., are much more important than our votes for American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. (Okay, I will admit to having voted a couple times on Idol).

Furthermore, this election is a good excuse for progressives to intensify their efforts to bring change to our communities and our nation. Gay-rights advocates saw mixed results; the Maine vote was particularly disheartening, but its closeness reminds us that the fight cannot end now!

In closing, I leave you with two quotes:

"Dr. King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. It bends towards justice, but here is the thing: it does not bend on its own. It bends because each of us in our own ways put our hand on that arc and we bend it in the direction of justice." - Barack Obama

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." - Ted Kennedy