Opinion | Tony Jones: A time to be thankful

Today is Thanksgiving Day, a hallowed American holiday, the meaning of which may differ for citizens of this country, depending on their heritage. For many, it is a day to commemorate Rockwellian tales of the Pilgrims and the feast some histories tell us they held with the friendly Indigenous people they’d encountered upon landing on the wild shores of this continent. To others, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a land grab and genocide that would fuel the turbulent relations between Indians and European settlers for centuries to come. Unraveling those mists that cloud the history of Thanksgiving is not a can of worms I intend to open in this column.

But over the years this holiday has also come to symbolize the importance of family and relationships and is a time when we recall Thanksgivings past and those who are no longer with us. It’s also a time when, like those fabled Pilgrims who came before us, we may reflect on those things for which we are thankful.

I personally am most thankful for my family with whom I share love and times good and bad. I consider myself lucky to bask in that love today, because, sadly, as we’ve seen recently in Colorado and as we see all too often in this country, there is much hate out there. There is also evil in this world, an all-too-human trait, and you never know when you or a loved one will come into its orbit. So, please be sure to tell your cherished ones this Thanksgiving, and as often as you can, that you love them.

I’m thankful to be able to experience the beauty of Summit County. Whether it’s on a snowboard gliding down the slopes, gazing at the grandeur of the jagged peaks that surround us, or simply enjoying a beer at a local brewery, I know that I’m blessed to be a part of this community. And I’m also thankful to live in the state of Colorado, where the majority of us are a tolerant people who appreciate the diversity of mankind and live life with the knowledge that those things that make us different from one another also make us a stronger society. Colorado is a place where we appreciate that no person is less than us because of the color of their skin or who they call their spouse, and where ideas for a grander and more just society can be considered and flourish. 

I’m thankful that I was born in a nation of laws that, no matter how imperfect, are there to act as a safety net to ensure that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Could we be doing better with ensuring that everyone can participate fully in that quest? Absolutely! But at least in this country, when we see backsliding in our pursuit of a more perfect union, we are able to call the backsliding out for what it is, and lawfully strive towards that common goal of perfection we all seek. 

I’m thankful to voters who recently registered their dissatisfaction with unqualified and divisive political candidates. I’m also thankful that many Republicans showed their displeasure with the direction of their party. I wish them the strength and resolve to regain a platform that stands for conservative policies that address governing a nation, not the bias and culture warring that has cursed American politics these last few years.

And I am grateful to the readers of this newspaper, especially those who have taken a moment to humor my pontificating on subjects meaningful and not so meaningful. I appreciate the feedback, be it positive or negative, or on my views of the Dylan concert or the direction of American politics. That feedback keeps me honest and reflective of other points of view. 

My dad has always said that America ain’t perfect but it’s better than the alternatives. He and I have seen our political viewpoints diverge somewhat over the years, but when it comes to that claim, upon that, at least, we do agree. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and I hope that your reflections on the things you are thankful for are many and joyful.

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