|| Thanksgiving has become the de facto time in America for self-reflection and gratitude. We thank our friends, our families, our co-workers and for some of us, our God(s) as we understand them. Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving drives home how important the people in our lives are, and just how reliant we are for them. Even as we give that thanks to those who directly touch us though, it is easy to become myopic, and miss the greater connections we all share as Americans; for we are far more deeply intertwinned as a people than the current polarization of our society would suggest.
What makes our country unique isn’t just the longevity of our Constitution nor the ideals codified within it, it is that we, the people, believe in them. But while our ideals our noble, there is a glaring chasm between those ideals and their reality. However equal our society is supposed to be, it demonstrably isn’t. However much our laws are supposed to provide “equal protection” to all, and ensure that no one is above them, they are not, nor have they ever been, equally enforced. This isn’t to say that we haven’t made great strides over the past two and a half odd centuries, but it is to acknowledge that we are not there yet.
This past year has unforunately seen that gap between reality and our ideals begin widening again for a variety of reasons, all of which have been shared and discussed ad infinitum across the news and Internet. I’m not writing this to delve into those factors again, as there has already been enough arguing that merely mentioning them instantly raises defensive hackles, and causes people to instinctively dig in with their beliefs.
Instead I’d offer a simple, positive thought. That we let ourselves begin to see beyond our inner circle of relationships, beyond even our outer circle of relationships, but to our country as a whole. Once we do that, we’ll finally be able to see the disparity between our ideals, and our reality. And once we accept that gap, we can start working to narrow it again by listening to those who are disadvantaged, believe what they tell us of their experiences, and commit ourselves to making these ideals a true realiy for all- even when its hard, and seems insurmountable.
Thank you for listening, and thank you all the more if you are willing to try and see America’s ideal fully realized.