If you’re reading this editorial, you have survived the worst pandemic in a century.
Remember those we lost today, and cherish your time with family and friends. For many of us, this will be the first traditional Thanksgiving dinner in two years because of COVID-19. Enjoy your holiday gathering while following state health guidelines. Mask around others indoors if you are unvaccinated, and skip the celebration if you feel sick.
Be thankful for the long hours and sacrifice of health care providers during the pandemic. They have saved — and risked their own — lives. Many continue to do so.
Be thankful for the teachers who allow our children to go to school, the clerks who stock the shelves, and everyone else who makes or delivers what we need. Be thankful for the science that helps protect us, including abundant vaccines, a promising new pill to treat COVID and ongoing research at UW-Madison and elsewhere.
Count your blessings for our democracy today. Americans still pick their leaders at the ballot box, something we should never take for granted. We still have free and fair elections, as myriad reviews and audits of last fall’s vote have proven. We have a Constitution guaranteeing individual rights and a balance power, which is reassuring.
Be thankful that the gerrymandering of voting districts may finally end in Wisconsin. The courts, which will decide where the lines are drawn next year, provide a much better chance for fair maps than the Legislature. Three cheers for independent judges such as state Supreme Court Justice Brian Hagedorn, who takes the law seriously rather than catering to partisan interests.
Be thankful today that our leaders still cooperate sometimes for the public good. Bipartisan support just led to a $1 trillion investment in America’s roads, bridges, ports, trains and other infrastructure over the next 10 years. Madison is getting a more efficient and faster bus system. Rural Wisconsin is getting faster internet connections. Supporters included U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, on the left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, on the right.
The younger generations are showing promise. Be thankful for them. They are embracing technology and entrepreneurism. They are bringing optimism and creativity to tough challenges such as climate change.
Be thankful for the calm following last week’s acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha. Our nation was split on the verdict. Yet most people respected the jury’s decision, based on the law — even if we didn’t like the result. The courts, not violence in the streets, is how we settle disputes.
The pandemic has caused many of us to think more about what is truly important, and what we really want to do with our lives. That has been an unexpected blessing. Time spent with family and friends is more precious now. Many families were freed from hectic schedules to enjoy the simpler things in life, including more time outdoors. Some of us have changed jobs, eager to find more rewarding paths or to chase a dream.
Think beyond COVID today and truly be thankful for all of the riches in your life — not money or status, but the work and people you love.