Food and family, sharing and fellowship, traffic jams, airport foul-ups, grace and thankfulness - all these are part of the American Thanksgiving holiday. But, especially this year, there is more.
Those of us fortunate enough to sit down to a bountiful meal, in the company of friends and family, do so in the knowledge that too many in our nation are living on the edge, or have dropped off. These are troubled times in our land.
Insecurity is in the air: job insecurity, retirement insecurity, food insecurity (also known as hunger), health care insecurity, housing insecurity, children's future insecurity, environmental insecurity, and, yes, safety and security insecurity.
Amidst all this, there's a good reason Thanksgiving is perhaps our most widely celebrated holiday. It's the coming together, the sharing with others, and the celebration of plentiful food as the long winter begins - age-old themes that are central to human existence.
Many of us, this holiday season, help serve meals at food banks and homeless shelters. Many of us take the occasion to reflect on what more we must do so that food banks and homeless shelters are no longer needed, and all people of the earth have enough food and clean water.
Let's give thanks, this Thanksgiving, for the caring, collective spirit that is alive and well in our country.
It is embodied in the spontaneous movement of millions of Americans who came out and came together to elect Barack Obama and reject the ugly, divisive, reactionary politics of the Bush era. What more powerful emblem of our country's join-together spirit than the fact that, in a nation still scarred by the legacy of slavery and vicious racism, this multifaceted, multiethnic people's movement succeeded in electing our first African American president!
Let's give thanks that we now have a White House that has put out the welcome mat for labor and every segment of this all-people's movement.
And first and foremost, let's give thanks for the collective, caring spirit that is embodied in the men and women of the resurgent U.S. labor movement - which is leading the way on just about every social issue, from jobs to health care, from children's well being to seniors' security, from reviving our communities to greening our world. And increasingly, it is joining forces with community, ethnic, religious, youth, environmental and other groups, to point a way forward for our country, and to fight for it. That is a future of peace and real security, in our jobs, our homes, our communities and our planet.
This Thanksgiving, in each of our small ways, let's keep the spirit going, and pledge to help it grow in the coming year.