I've had a personal tradition of an annual End of Year Message in the tradition of dickens. But this year is odd. This year I am thankful that I'm still alive, though I wish a few dear friends who aren't around to share this were still around. Some of them left too soon; Though, they are alive in my heart and this thanks is given thinking of them. My late wife, my wonderful late relatives, but I'm thankful others of my relatives and friends are still around. I'm incredibly thankful for these friends, especially; Herman Taube, the healing warrior who has been my friend along with his whole family; Nessie Godin, the lovely lady whose wisdom and experience I value even when I can't talk to her directly. My "Suegra" or mother in law, who I love in a different way from my wife, but who is so wonderful too. I could name them all, Mom, Dad, and sisters and brothers, cousins and distant relatives -- all of whom are precious in their own special unique ways. And most of them have their own families and have invited me in from time to time.
But I never give thanks without thinking of Dickens, who tried to shame people, or Swift, who tried to shock people into changing. Neither exactly succeeded. Too many folks are too self-obsessed, sociopathic or even malaevolent to get either a swiftian message or a Dickensian message. I used to try the Dickensian messages on my libertarian "frenemies" and they'd just get offended. They and the entire Republican Party agree with the pre-Three Ghost Scrooge, and thanks to them we have cuts in unemployment, food stamps and other charitable programs kicking in just in time for Christmas. I can thank the Dems that things aren't worse. If I suggest Swiftian remedies to my Republican friends, such as turning the unemployed and hungry into Soylent Green, some of them agree until I point out that was the sort of thing the Nazis did, then they get mad at me for embarrassing them -- or worse, say "so?" Never mind that they are still fine with the projects of getting rid of Obamacare, cutting food stamps, and giving all that money to their buddies at the country club. Some people are grateful for what they have, and some people are aggrieved that they don't have everything someone else has. Some of us are grateful for the giants on whose shoulders we stand. Some folks think they are Ozymandias and they "did it all themselves."
There is a lot to be thankful for. Fukushima could have been worse (maybe) Andy Gunderson gives his own thanks that things could have been a lot worse in this recent (depressing) Youtube video that explains why it could have been much better, and is a lot worse than they are telling us: http://fairewinds.org/podcast/giving-thanks. It could be worse, though I'm not sure. It can always get worse because human depravity and delusional subjectivity are easily manipulated and can lead otherwise good people to do despicable things. My friends have first hand experience with that. I'd prefer to spare their and my descendents the same thing.