In Praise of Giving Thanks


Can I get some praise for the Cornhuskin’ Ben Sasse? How about for the bi-coastal and bi-racial Kamala Harris?

Uncomfortable? Yeah, I know.  These are two senators perhaps most loved by their base and reviled by their opponents.  But unless these current battles in Washington are worth ditching your citizenship you can probably see the value in both of them and then also appreciating other things you don’t particularly like.  After all, it is the holidays, lets hear it for some post-Thanksgiving Yule time cheer.  You can hear our podcast on this topic here.

So if you are into supporting public schooling, can we get some praise for private institutions that provide academic rigor and are fruitful both academically and socially? And if you turn your nose at the idea of a public education, consider giving the institution its due having become the first compulsory and free-to-attend system in the world. 

We can all celebrate that Americans give money away at astonishing rates.  Since the Great Depression and throughout many years of boom and bust, Americans have stayed consistent in 70% or more of the population gives charitably and the average is 2% of their income, creating a budget item that tops that of national defense in terms of where we want our money to go.

Perhaps nothing is more polarizing than views on healthcare.  You know the drill, take the opposite stance and praise it.  Are you for Obamacare or a single payer option?  The, take the fact that 70% of Americans say they are happy with their healthcare.  And are you asking for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act to keep the market as a prime regulator? Than you need to praise those people who work tirelessly for the 70% of the population that believes the system needs to change towards government-as-single-payer option.

It’s one thing to give thanks.  It’s a pleasurable experience, something which is only a side effect of the real cause. It’s another thing altogether to work those thanks in the direction of those whom we despise.  You don’t have to agree, or even like.  You have to love.

And on that topic, let’s throw some holiday love at some more American gems to be thankful for:

How about the Rocky Mountains?


How about National Geographic? Who dislikes pictures of nature and animals? Nobody, nobody dislikes the National Geographic.


The National Parks, especially Joshua Tree and the Badlands for being scrappy underdogs as “parks”.


National Highways? Rt 66, the 1, the 5.  These things are free to drive on and take you anywhere in the nation.  Next time you are staring at the highway going nowhere on your way to some fabulous Act-of-God National Monument remember how rad these roads are.


Outside that one time when half the country seceded on the news of the election of a president, we specialize in the peaceful transfer of power between factions.


I love me some regional cooking from deep south to fish markets in Seattle.  


We have two Disneylands and that wasn’t enough so we got a half dozen or so Six Flags, a few Universal Studios and hundreds of other smaller theme parks.


It’s just the beginning of the Christmas season and so we’ll remind ourselves to be continually thankful, especially when we are prone to gripe, in the meantime,


Everything Is Going to Be Ok,



Dan is the director of The League of Faithful Masks which produces the Virtue in the Wasteland podcast.  He received his PhD in 2008 from the University of St. Andrews and was recently a professor of history and political thought as well as Assistant Dean at Concordia University, Irvine.  He is the author of Monsters: Addiction, Hope, Ex-Girlfriends and Other Dangerous Things.

Daniel van Voorhis