My thanks this year

This Thanksgiving I would like to express gratitude to many people, including the architects of several ideas and concepts that affect and benefit us all (whether we appreciate it or not), along with the everyday common man.

The authors of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with it's guarantees of Freedom of Speech and of Religion, are at the top of my list this year, followed very closely by those of the Fourteenth Amendment, with its guarantee of Equal Protection under the Law, which has been a bulwark against the bigotry and intolerance of the close-minded yet powerful. Let us all hope it continues to be interpreted as such.

I am thankful to the great minds behind the Enlightenment, without which the amendments mentioned above would not exist, nor would the country that nurtures them.  I see it as the awakening of the true spirit of modernity, where reason and compassion meld with a sense of wonder and honest, open inquiry.

I am thankful to the countless people who, through their daily, well-intentioned, and kind yet unrecognized actions, make the society in which I live the place that it is.  Even though every day I see in the news evidence of continuing bigotry, hatred, dispassion, stupidity, and narrow-mindedness, I am heartened even more by the revulsion I see and hear expressed against these base sentiments - we as a society are outraged more and more by injustice and unfairness.

Although I don't believe in providence or any supernatural causes, I am nonetheless thankful most of all for the accident of my birth and the circumstances which have allowed me to live the life I have, during these times of great moral and social progress, and in a country where there are enough good people to resist the terrible urges given action in other places, those primitive, pernicious, and simplistic ideological urges which cause them to do horrible things to people just like me, such as throwing them off of high buildings for the crime of living life as they see fit.  While disgusted to the core by that behavior, I am nonetheless thankful that I don't live under such a threat.

I hope you too can find things great and small for which to be thankful!