Skip to main content

November 22, 1963 is the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Whatever one may think of JFK, it is a day that lives in infamy. Even when I was in High School in the early 70's, I looked back at that day as the start of an "era of assassinations": JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others.

And there was so much other violence and killing in the 60's, directed against those who sought a better America and a better world. I turned 18 after the end of the draft, but I remember asking my Mom in first grade if I'd have to fight in Viet Nam. My personal life was peaceful and protected, but violence was very much visible in the nation and in the world as I grew up.

Since then, the forces of violence in our society have made great gains, to the extent that today hardly anyone seems to question torture, targeted killings, and other forms of violence for political purposes (when done by Americans). This includes what is now the longest war in US history, which some think should be extended indefinitely.

So what to say on this day dedicated to giving thanks? I give thanks for those who put their safety and their lives on the line for freedom, both at home & abroad, both in protest and in war. I give thanks that we still, despite the forces of violence & hatred, have a system of government that allows dissent. And I give thanks that, despite a few crazies who called for use of the "bullet box" if they lost this election, and despite the larger number of crazies calling for secession, we still have a society that on the whole accepts the results of elections.

Gorbachev once told about being ambassador to the United States during Nixon's presidency. One night Moscow called to warn him that Nixon would resign the next day. Gorbachev remembered that he couldn't sleep, imagining the tanks and troops that would fill the streets in the morning. But when he looked out, he was amazed to see no troops, not even any police, but just people going about their usual morning business. And, eventually, a single helicopter taking off from in front of the White House, which circled once and then went on its way.

We truly have an exceptional country. I don't mean that in the sense of the false patriots, who claim that we are the best and indeed can do no wrong. I mean that in the sense that we make terrible mistakes and commit great injustices, but have still held on to a system of government that holds out promise of non-violently correcting those mistakes.

Like Martin Luther King Jr. I say on this day: "I haven't lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Happy Thanksgiving

[My thanks to ThousandWatts for inspiring this diary.]

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site