A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Giving Thanks

I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving as the point when the year starts winding down. Any elections we might have had are over, Florida’s long summer has come to an end, and the final month of the year is upon us. It’s a time to reflect, a time to think about what we’ve said and done and accomplished over the past eleven months. Yeah, the end of the year is a good time for a holiday called Thanksgiving.

Especially this year.

Like many other Americans, I have a lot to be thankful for in general. I’m thankful that we live in a prosperous, secular democracy, a society where I’m free to do and believe as I will. I’m thankful that I have a great family and excellent friends, people who stand by me and make me feel wanted and loved. I’m thankful that I’m smart enough to analyze and understand complex ideas; I’m also thankful that I understand there are folks who are much smarter than me and that I’m lucky to have the opportunity to learn from them. I’m thankful that my worldview allows me to tell right from wrong with a fair amount of ease and accuracy, and I’m thankful that I’ve found the courage to stand behind those principles. I’m thankful that I’m willing and able to speak my mind when I feel it’s necessary, consequences be damned.

There are more specific, more pertinent things to be thankful for in 2004, however:

I’m thankful that a chance accident revealed my Mom's life-threatening situation. I'm even more thankful that the resulting surgery ended up with her being alive and well. Though much of the long road to a full recovery is still ahead of her, she’ll be having turkey and stuffing with us tomorrow - in her own home and with no help needed from a nurse or caregiver. You have no idea how important something like that is unless you’ve been through it. Trust me.

I’m thankful that courageous guys like these are out there protecting me, the people I love, and the nation I believe in with all my heart. I’m also thankful that men and women who are just as brave are there to care for our soldiers when they inevitably pay for our freedom with their blood. We owe all of them a debt we can never hope to repay; we can only try to live a life that is worthy of their sacrifices.

I’m thankful it’s still the Cowboy and not the Frenchman. Here’s to four more years of tax cuts and dead terrorists. Damn straight, Frank.

I’m thankful someone finally decided that if we want to go into space, government might not be the best way to get us there.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the opportunity to put my ideas out into the world. I’m happy that you good folks read them, and I’m ecstatic when you respond. Blogging is the next wave of the information revolution, and I know how immensely lucky I am to be just a small part of it.

To all of you, a happy Thanksgiving. May your friends be true, your bellies full, and your beds safe and warm. And may you remember to be duly thankful for all of it.