This Thanksgiving season, we once again face more than our usual share or portion of uncertainty.
We are reminded daily in news reports that our nation is heading for a “fiscal cliff” — a crushing combination of tax hikes and program cuts— unless members of Congress and the president can reach a compromise to stop it, just two days into the approaching new year.
The economy remains weak, job growth is slow, with Gloucester’s unemployment rate on the upswing again, though still below last year’s.
And overseas, our military personnel — including many troops of our own Cape Ann family members, friends and neighbors — remain engaged in Afghanistan. Plus, renewed fighting has flared between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, while, in the background, the ever-present threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambition looms.
For what, then, should we be thankful — on this day set aside for giving thanks?
On the national scale, despite our sluggish economy and frightening level of debt, America remains a wealthy nation, one blessed with abundant natural resources, enormous productive capacity and an innovative spirit in its people.
Most importantly, we remain a free people. We have, after all, just completed state and national elections. And while a sense of bitter divisiveness remains in many circles, we should all be grateful that have the ability to freely choose those who lead us — thanks in no small part, of course, to those troops who remain far from home on this Thanksgiving, and to the veterans of all wars who went before them.
But closer to home, there are many reasons to give thanks — including a number that surfaced this week.
Noting the increased number of requests for assistance, executive director Julie LaFontaine of The Open Door food pantry and service agency also noted that she has seen an increase in giving across the community as well.