A week from today, families will be gathering together to enjoy a Thanksgiving Feast. It amazes me how much Thanksgiving has became the forgotten Holiday, a day that falls between the end of Halloween and before (or sometimes on) Black “Friday” sales and the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. As Black Friday has become “Black Thursday”, I have been bothered by the disappearance of Thanksgiving.

As I say this, I understand the holiday season is becoming more and more of a political football. Every year, my friends on the left complain about the overt commercialization of Black Friday. They complain about how family time is being replaced by cheap sales and large crowds that make many rational people question humanity. Shortly after Black Friday ends, many in the Fox News crowd begin their annual diatribe against the mythical “War on Christmas” (really, would anybody be surprised if Bill O’Reilly’s next book was called “Killing Christmas”?).

So I decided to make a special effort this year to remember Thanksgiving and the spirit of the holiday. Today, I thought I would list a few things I am thankful for this year.

  • I am very thankful we are seeing an expansion of freedom’s across this country. Currently, 34 states have legal same sex marriage. In addition, 23 now have legal medical marijuana. In the past few years we have saw as many as 3 states and the District of Colombia allow legal recreational usage of the drug. I only wish North Dakota would jump on board with these issues.
  • I am thankful for the Affordable Care Act. Conservatives love to attack Obamacare, and they will never admit the law has done many good things. However, the uninsured rate is down nearly four percentage points since late 2013, and more Americans are now covered than in 2008, and most people who get coverage through the exchanges are very happy with their new insurance.
  • I am thankful for President Obama. Despite what many of my friends on the right tell me, I do not agree with everything the President does. However, right now the President is the last line of defense against the Republicans in Congress and the conservatives who hold a majority on the Supreme Court. This is a President who was elected by large margins in two elections. He has earned the right to stand tall against the ideological right. I look forward to watching him do it.
  • I am thankful for the public teachers who believed in me when they had no reason to. I was not a student to whom learning came easy. However, I was always a student who tried really hard. I am so thankful I had a few wonderful public teachers who pushed me to keep trying hard. Eventually, as my brain caught up with my effort, I ended up being a very good student. That is the exact reason I am such a big fan of our public education system. I believe that good teachers should be paid extraordinarily well and that our schools should be well financed institutions of learning. Now to be honest, I am not sure how to determine who a “good teacher” is, or how to best fund those institutions of learning, however, I will keep working as hard for teachers as they worked for me.
  • Finally, I am thankful for Rob Port and the SayAnythingBlog.com. It is safe to say that Rob and I do not agree on many things, and he has no obligation to provide blog space to a liberal blogger who writes under a pseudonym. However, Rob, unlike many people on both the right and left sees the value in opinions he does not agree with. I am very fortunate he has allowed me to express my opinions on the happenings of North Dakota and the nation on a weekly basis. I am very proud to say he has never placed a limit or restriction on what I can write. As a person who made a hobby out of being a contrarian in the comments section of this and a few other blogs, writing a weekly column has giving me a new respect for just how hard Rob works every day.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody, and try to spend a little time and be thankful over the next week. Then you can jump write into Black Friday and complaining about the “War on Christmas”.