In 2020, the concept of gratitude perhaps seems far-fetched.
Maybe you spent Thanksgiving at a geographical distance from your kin – or socially distanced from every other human on the planet.
Families are struggling with reduced or lost paychecks, closed schools and anxiety over health and wealth.
Even if you do feel genuinely blessed about your life in these COVID-infested times, because you haven’t gotten sick, lost your job, or struggled to pay the bills, there’s apparently something called “pandemic guilt” afflicting many of us.
The diagnosis: We feel horrible about doing well while so many others are doing poorly.
The human mind and emotions at work, ladies and gentlemen. It is a strange, wondrous thing to behold.
While this year has been a general downer, I’m determined to keep up a November tradition I started in this space five years ago. In fact, if ever a year called for a heaping dose of gratitude, it’s this one.
What do we have to be thankful for
Community food banks. From St. Mary’s to United to Midfirst Food Bank, our state has an amazing network of volunteers and do-gooders dedicated to feeding our neighbors in need.
We are talking about distributing tens of millions of pounds of donated food annually and caring for thousands of families. As the pandemic has created profound need, food banks have doubled and tripled down on their good works, without asking for a morsel of credit.
Mike Broomhead. The KTAR morning news talker moved from arch-conservative KFYI to his new radio home without dumbing it down for KTAR’s vanilla, less inflammatory lineup.
Broomhead has passion, smarts and a common-sense approach to the issues of the day. And he conveys his opinion without making you feel like you’re losing brain cells just listening.
Sen. John McCain’s revenge. Sure, the good Senator made mistakes and had his share of pockmarks. But he served this nation like few others in war and as an elected leader.
This true hero’s shabby treatment by President Donald Trump didn’t stop bothering many Arizonans just because McCain passed away in August 2018.
In an Arizona presidential race decided by about 10,450 votes, I imagine McCain had a last good laugh at Trump’s expense.
Arizona’s nurses, doctors and hospital workers. Speaking of heroes, our state’s medical community has responded with unparalleled courage and commitment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time when working a shift constitutes risking their lives, this last line of defense between 7 million residents and coronavirus deserves every round of applause they’ve been given – and then some.
Kyler Murray. The Arizona Cardinals feel different this year and most of the credit goes to the darting quarterback. The Cards may be a year or two away from their peak and true contention for a Super Bowl, but Murray already has changed the team’s mojo.
In years past, I would have been certain the Cardinals would choke away close games like the “Hail Murray” Sea-hawks epic. Now? Murray seems to find ways to win.
Arizona legislator Paul Boyer. This Glendale Republican, a high school teacher, has fought like hell to protect firefighters from being screwed out of insurance coverage despite getting cancer in the line of duty.
Boyer’s also been a strong voice for small business, education and abuse victims. National groups spent nearly $500,000 to unseat Boyer this election cycle – and he still won with 52 percent of the vote.
I love it when good things happen to good people in any year, but in 2020 it’s especially noteworthy. Incidentally, here’s one last thing to be thankful for this year: It’ll be over in just a few weeks.
And thank goodness for that.