Ah, Thanksgiving. A holiday where we sit around a table filled with family, eat way too much food, scream at each other for a few hours while playing Monopoly, and then go home with a headache and stains on our clothes in places food should never reach (seriously, gravy on the back of my shirt? What the what?).
Thanksgiving is probably America’s darkest holiday, too. As progressives, we all have an obligation to remember that millions of Native Americans — some estimates go over 100 million — died while Europeans conquered the Americas, in a genocide that lasted several centuries. So be thankful for what you have, but be mindful of those who never were given the opportunity to have anything at all.
Okay, there are lots of articles on the Internet that can bum you out about Thanksgiving… let’s try to keep this a little more upbeat, shall we?
2015 was a pretty decent year for progressives. Some truly horrendous things happened this year, of course, but there’s been plenty we can be thankful for as well. So let’s list the top ten things liberals should be happy about as 2015 draws toward its end, and we spend our Thanksgiving thinking about (mostly) positive things.
10. The Internet: Each and every year, the Internet proves, more than it had the year prior, just how effective a tool it is in spreading information and connecting likeminded individuals. We can thank the Internet for so many of the other things on this top ten list, from websites uncovering just how much of a Nazi sympathizer Donald Trump truly is, to the monumental rise of Bernie Sanders as a household name and election-changing figure. The Internet brings progressives closer together, helps showcase what it is we truly stand for, and is helping us drag America forward.
9. Colbert, Noah, Wilmore, and Oliver: 2015 was the year we lost Jon Stewart to retirement, but in his place, four epic figures have risen up to carry the torch. Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Larry Wilmore, and John Oliver aren’t just changing television and comedy in huge ways, they’re giving progressives a voice in ways we’ve frankly never seen from the media before, all while bringing smiles to millions and millions of viewers, some of whom might walk away more liberal than they were before.
8. We get to point out the Thanksgiving/ Syrian refugee hypocrisy: The story of Thanksgiving is one of refugees being openly welcomed into a new world, and being given whatever could be given because they needed help. Of course, those European settlers were genocidal maniacs, but no refugee has done anything remotely similar in the hundreds of years since, and those Syrian refugees are in desperate need of our help right now.
7. The primary is about to start, which means it’s almost over: The 2016 presidential election has been some ugly business for us progressives thus far. The oftentimes heated debates between the supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have gotten uglier than any other primary season of my lifetime. Our site’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders has resulted in some pretty hateful messages being lobbed our way, and I’m sure Sanders’ supporters have been just as volatile as Hillary’s. Thankfully, Iowa and New Hampshire are closing in fast, and this whole thing will be settled once and for all, so that all of us progressives can unite again and fight who we should be fighting… asshole Republicans!
6. The GOP is imploding: Having the opportunity to sit back with some fresh, hot popcorn and an icy drink and laugh uncontrollably as the right-wing drives itself at record speeds toward a brick wall is pretty fantastic, isn’t it? Conservatives are scary as hell, but once you get past all of the bitter racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, greed, and misogyny, you’re looking at a whole ideology that’s struggling to find a purpose or a reason for existence in the 21st century. Conservatism is dying a slow and painful death, and all the while the right-wing is getting more and more radicalized, and both of these are making the other worse every single day. We have to deal with people like Ted Cruz for a while, a generation from now, America will probably have sane, responsible, moderate Republicans once more… or whatever they call their party then.
5. Donald Trump is still leading in the polls: Donald Trump is a racist, feckless thug with no character or class or intellectual merit whatsoever. In other words, he’s perfect for the modern GOP. But despite how well he’s doing in polls, don’t worry… a buffoon like that is pretty easy to campaign against, and so long as all of us get out there and vote come election day, Trump will lose by a huge margin. Just remember the key phrase there… you need to go vote! But what’s going to get you to the polls faster than the prospect of having to ever type out the sentence “President Donald Trump?”
4. … And Ben Carson is right behind him: We’d usually settle for one hilariously out-of-touch, gaffe-happy Republican presidential contender, but we’ve got two leading the GOP field today. Ben Carson, the only candidate in presidential history whose desperately tried to prove to the American people that he did indeed stab a dude… if Donald Trump announces tomorrow that his whole run has just been a gag all along, then hey, we still have sleepy Mc-Douchesurgeon, an alpha-dick in a pack of rabid nutjobs. Yippee!
3. Barack Obama is still our president: Here’s something I’m thankful for every single day… President Barack Obama is still in the Oval Office, fighting the good fight (well, 80% of the time, anyway). Unemployment is way down, the stock market is way up, gay marriage is legal nationwide, Osama Bin Laden is dead, and we aren’t bombing the crap out of Iran right now. Conservatives are working extra-hard to convince us that despite all of his accomplishments, Obama is somehow a bad president, but you know what? They’re lying, and we ain’t buying!
2. Hillary Clinton: Yes, we endorsed Bernie Sanders a while back, and yes, we’re sticking by that decision. But if Sanders does lose, America could do a lot worse than to have Hillary Clinton assume the office of the presidency. Is she going to usher in a new era of progressivism the likes of which we’ve never seen? Of course not. But she’ll continue and expand on Obama’s policies, and despite what the right-wing meme machine claims, eight more years of Obama would definitely be a very good thing.
1. Bernie Sanders: There’s only one way anyone can really honestly describe Bernie Sanders: he’s a win-win. Either he wins the presidency and spreads the seeds of progressivism to every corner of this nation, or he goes down swinging and forces Hillary to move further to the left than she ever would have otherwise. Either way, having Bernie Sanders brighten this election has been an all-around great thing, and with some luck, grit, and hard work, we might just see him sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the not-too-distant future. And if there’s one person you should be bringing up around that Thanksgiving dinner table this holiday, it’s definitely him.