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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Thanksgiving postcards

Scott Jagow Nov 25, 2009

It’s hard to be optimistic, considering the country’s economic plight. But Americans are, by nature, optimistic people. At no time is that more evident than the day before Thanksgiving when the unemployment rate is plus 10%.

They’re giving thanks in Cape May, New Jersey:

I have a 401(k) retirement fund that was battered by the recession, is on the mend, yet is woefully small for my future needs. Small it may be, still it would make many in some countries enormously wealthy. Money doesn’t bring true wealth, so I could have 20 times that sum, and never be “rich” in the world’s estimation. Can I worry about that?

I have a job in the newspaper business. Such a thing is almost unheard of in these times of economic downturn when metropolitan papers are folding like card tables on Saturday night. We are struggling, yes, but we still print weekly. For that, we are humbled and grateful.

In Central Oklahoma:

On a regional level, we can be thankful that while Oklahoma unquestionably in a downturn, things aren’t as bad as they are elsewhere. The most recent unemployment figures of 7.3 percent in this state are bad but pale by comparison with the 10.2 percent national figures — and those probably are understated. Like all others, this state faces harsh challenges but its bipartisan political structure is capable of meeting the crisis. Can every state say as much? We can be grateful on this Thanksgiving Day.

Right here in west central Minnesota:

The year 2009 has been a trying year for many. Businesses have closed and people have lost their jobs in west central Minnesota. So remember to help those in need this year.

Let us give thanks for those blessings of family, friends and community that we all enjoy right here in west central Minnesota. The American prosperity we all enjoy remains the envy of the world.

Finally, let us all be thankful for that fine turkey — hatched, raised and processed right here in west central Minnesota — we all hope to enjoy Thursday.

In Snohomish County, Washington:

So do we celebrate Thanksgiving? Or course. Compared to the vast majority of people, we are privileged beyond measure…

We should also take a little time to reflect on our privilege and plenty, in the midst of the decline in our economy, the insecurity of many of our neighbors and fellow citizens, the wars with no endpoints, and the diminishment of hope and opportunity in the future.

We are not impotent in the face of these larger forces. We can do something. We can help others. We may not be able to shape our world as we would wish, thwarted by more powerful forces. But we can reach out a hand to our neighbors and friends.

Even in Detroit:

The party is over, in every sense of the word. Now, we have to remake our state and our economy. We’re going to need to pay higher taxes, regardless of what the Republicans say. We’re going to have to make do with less, regardless of what the unions think, at least for now. Lying to ourselves clearly just won’t cut it any more. That’s worth being thankful for.

Yes, the only sugar-coating that should be done is on tomorrow’s dessert. But in my life and I’m sure in yours, there are plenty of things to be thankful for. We can at least give ourselves a break and consider those things for one day a year anyway. I’m sure there will be plenty to gripe about on Friday (especially if you go shopping).

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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