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Many people who know me are aware that I am a rank sentimentalist. I get teary-eyed at a fair number of movies; I write long emotional notes to people I love on all sorts of occasions; and I love the traditions and sentiment around the holidays. Around Thanksgiving, I always spend a lot of time thinking about how grateful I am to my parents and my family for giving me such a great home, to my old friends who are a long term source of support and happiness, and to the new friends who add some spark to my life.

But there is a cynical side to me as well. Certainly the maudlin commercialism of the holiday season brings it out in me. What brings the cynicism out the most, though, are the politicians and big businesses that never stop exploiting people whether it is the season of thanksgiving and good will or not- the big banks who use their enormous power to keep finding new ways to commit fraud and rip people off; the low wage employers who force their workers onto public assistance to survive; the health industry which wants to be able to go back to the same old health care system that allowed them to make money by denying sick people coverage; and all those politicians who carry the special interests’ dirty water in the halls of Congress.

The thing that makes me angriest of all this week where we are all wanting to give thanks for the good things we have is that because of the greed and power of the corporations and politicians I mentioned above, so many people this Thanksgiving are living on the edge. The middle class in this country is no longer just being squeezed- it is being crushed. And the poor are indeed getting poorer while the rich are certainly getting richer. For no good reason, for no reason at all except for greed and corrupt power, way too many people have been bankrupted by out-of-control health care costs; way too many people got foreclosed on through no fault of their own when the housing market collapsed around them and sent their mortgages deep underwater; way too many people can only find dead-end low wage jobs; way too many parents have no means to make sure their kids get enough to eat. For all that I am thankful of the many blessings I have been given, and I truly am, my Thanksgiving holiday attitude comes with an edge this year- an edginess that knows that too many of my fellow citizens are living way too much on the edge themselves.

That’s why the organization I chair, American Family Voices, is putting out this edgy video this holiday week. Yes, it is cynical. Yes, it is snarky. We think it will make you laugh while making a certain cynical point. For those of you wanting pure holiday cheer and happiness, my apologies. But we wanted to do something this week that reminds people that while we all have things to be genuinely thankful for, we also need to remember the people who live on the edge, especially those who live there because they have been pushed.

And now I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled cheery and sentimental holiday festivities. But I won’t forget my brothers and sisters on the edge.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You know, I'm going to enjoy Thanksgiving (7+ / 0-)

    dinner at my Dad and Stepmom's, in a house built in 1690, in a room with a fireplace so large you can walk into it if you're under about 6 feet tall with its oven and much of its original hardware intact. How Thanksgiving-y can it get?

    I'm also spending much of the week there, and this morning, my father and I took his car down to the mechanic. There was a dusting of snow on the ground. I followed him in his old pickup truck he uses to haul stuff around (if you own a house like that, there is always a project going on that requires hauling building supplies!) and after we dropped the car off, I was driving him home and we had this conversation:

    Dad: You know, I've got to find out where the local food pantry is.

    Me: I know you guys have been a bit strapped lately, with all the renovations, but...

    Dad: No, I've been thinking about the reduction in SNAP benefits. We've been doing our finances recently, and I figure that I can afford to donate 50 bucks worth of groceries every month. I mean, it's just unconscionable what Congress did, and I figure I can help but I want to know what they need. I have a membership at Costco, I could probably do a lot with just 50 bucks.

    I had to drive back up to Maine today as I have a commitment here tonight, and I was thinking how sad it is that citizens like my Dad, who is semi-retired and keeps a nice homestead up for his family that, like all old houses, is a real money-pit, has to pick up the slack of those who are so cold-hearted that they make significant cuts in SNAP and do so right before the Holidays. Or anytime, for that matter.

    I'm proud of my dad, and you can see where I get my politics (though I am significantly to the left of him) but we have taken people on the edge and put them further out on the edge. We're making people walk the financial plank, and many of those people are young children.

    I wonder if Boehner, Ryan, Walker, Perry, Bachmann, Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, and all the rest of the "hate-the-poor" cheerleaders will be having that thought at Thanksgiving.

    I'm glad none of those men raised me, and my Dad did instead.

    Give Thanks. Remember the Poor, and than act on that remembrance both at the ballot box and your local food pantry.

    •  You might try talking him into donating cash (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, chimene, commonmass, maggid

      instead of food directly. Food banks can use his money to buy far more food from their sources than he can buy himself, even at Costco. What would take you $2.00 retail to buy, they can get for 5-10 cents.

      Have him make a monthly donation of cash, rather than the actual cans of stuff!

      You are lucky fellow to have such a dad.

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