It’s a hard day to write a Thanksgiving post. Our hearts and our thoughts are with the Brown family, the people of Ferguson, and dark-skinned people throughout the United States. Thomas Jefferson said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” I’m not a religious person, but that quotation always resonates with me, and rarely more strongly than now.
And, at the same time, there are things to be thankful for, in the world, in the United States, and in each of our lives. Here are a few that caught our eyes in the course of the year.
Alison Bechdel, who made her splash with the brilliant long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, and went on to write graphic memoirs about her father (Fun Home) and her mother (Are You My Mother?) won a Macarthur “genius” grant.
In October, Germany made college tuition free for everyone–including people from other countries.
In the U.S., gay marriage is legal in 35 states, pending in nine more, legal-with-court-challenges-pending in six more, and recognized from other states in Missouri. Sixty-four percent of Americans live in states where they can marry a person of the gender they prefer. More than 25 states which accept gay marriage now did not allow it in 2013.
Even in such a bad election year for progressives, the minimum wage made huge strides, being raised in four states and many municipalities, including my own city of Oakland.
Polio is very much on the decline, with only parts of three countries throughout the world being at significant risk, another strain seems to have been eradicated. Wild poliovirus type 2 was officially declared gone in 1999 and no cases of wild poliovirus type 3 have been reported since November 2012 from Nigeria. What’s more, the evidence is mounting that the global polio eradication effort is making it easier to tackle other infectious diseases, including Ebola.
We are finally getting some traction in getting antibiotics out of the American food chain, particularly with this news from the country’s largest chicken producer.
He didn’t start it this year, but 2014 is the year that people began really noticing and celebrating Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who figured out how to bring affordable sanitary pads to the women of India, starting with his wife, and has consistently maintained his commitment to having women produce the pads themselves and keep the profits at home, rather than selling out to big corporations.
And where but the Netherlands would people start using ocean thermal to heat their town, and especially the town’s poorest residents?
As always, we’ll take Thanksgiving weekend off to eat good food and relax with our families (blood and chosen). We hope you are doing the same.