A Cynic's Guide to Being Thankful

November 23, 2017

Holy smokes…things sure seem to be grim at times.  It feels as if the country has seemingly split into a Grand Canyon-esque cultural chasm that only seems to be widening every moment of every day. We’re constantly reminded that we may be on the cusp of a major war…until we’re distracted for just a single news cycle by something worse. At this point, Russia-collusion feels like the political equivalent to jaywalking. So, what do we still have to be thankful for? In times like these, it’s easy to let the spoon-fed cynicism that’s trying to make headway in our collective conscious bubble to the surface, but there are still many things that we as Americans would be remiss to forget. This Thanksgiving, raise your half-full glass to these four things that Americans everywhere can be thankful for. 

We live in a place where victims of sexual misconduct no longer have to suffer in silence

This post-Weinstein era has revealed to us a society in which victims of sexual misconduct have a platform where they can share their stories—and that is something we should all be very thankful for. Not only do we have the freedom to express these stories, but we have the tools to find the communities we need to cope collectively—rather than in isolation, as so many have had to do prior to these last few weeks. It’s a major bummer to put a match to those Louis C.K. DVDs you’ve been collecting, but something better will rise from those proverbial, or literal, ashes.

We’re surrounded by courageous people who are willing to fight for our country

We really hope that we don’t end up seeing another war in our lifetime, but the sad reality is that war is a political tool used by most of the world’s nations. In fact, there are 10 active wars happening across the world right now. If things come to a head with North Korea (and we really hope they don’t), then we should all be very thankful that we have people across the country willing to risk their lives to protect America and our freedoms. If you’re one of those people reading this right now—thank you. Today and every day, we’re thankful for those more courageous than us.

The Internet

There are a lot of reasons to wish the Internet didn’t exist. One could definitely make the case that most of the problems we’ve dealt with in 2017 have either stemmed from or become exacerbated by the Internet in its current form. But…it’s so funny. And weird. And heartwarming. And creative. The Internet, for all its faults (and there are many), is an amazing joy machine that, because of its seamless integration into our everyday life, is totally underappreciated. With one click, you can be exposed to the most progressive art in the world, the recipe for the Anthony Bourdain’s most popular dish, or a peer-reviewed thesis on new methods for extracting fuel from waste. Its power is unprecedented, and when wielded correctly, more than worth being thankful for.

The people who care about you

The older we get, the more apparent it becomes that the definition of “those who care about you” extends far beyond your friends and family. When you integrate into a community, those people you passively exchange glances with from time to time become part of your tangent tribe—and believe it or not, they often care about you. Don’t believe us? Tell the guy you always buy a six-pack from at your local liquor store that you’re moving to another state, and listen closely to his response. It may not be an emphatic “Come to my in-laws’ house tonight and we’ll throw you a going-away BBQ,” but you may pick up on some emotion in his voice. It’s these people we often regard as simply strangers who deserve our appreciation; after all, they’re the ones who make our communities feel like communities. And if one of the many catastrophic things that could happen to us does happen,, they will be the ones you share a lukewarm Coors Banquet with—and if that isn’t the pinnacle of “community,” we don’t know what is.