Giving thanks for the 99%

Nowadays it is far too easy to be consumed by the negative. I find it hard sometimes to turn on the news for fear of what else will eat away at our peace of mind. These are unprecedented times with politicians who lie, environmental warnings ignored, the threat of war, terrorist activity, mass shootings, political polarization, failure to acknowledge that there is a gun problem, hate in various forms, sexual harassment, the failures of health care, world hunger and poverty, a few rogue cops who violate their code of conduct, human rights violations, and the list goes on an on. It is a lot to deal with, and there doesn’t seem to be a road map to show us the way out. But … it is important to stop for a minute and think about the overwhelming positives that are right under our nose.

Every day young people are making friends; relationships are being formed; couples are getting married; couples are becoming parents and grandparents; babies are learning to walk and talk and take it all in; houses become homes; children get on a bus to school, and teachers dedicate their days to helping them learn and grow; doctors and nurses perform their magic as they care for us when we are in need; police and firemen help to keep us safe; service men and women take their job of protector very seriously; artists paint; photographers capture moments in time; musicians write about life and brighten our days; people practice their faith and beliefs; writers tell stories that are entertaining and sometimes revealing; neighbors smile and greet each other; millions of people go to work and mesh with others of varying backgrounds, ethnicity, race, gender, size, age and beliefs and do so without incident; engineers build incredible structures; architects make designs for the ages; carpenters, electricians and plumbers toil over project construction; pilots and flight crews get us from point A to B; assembly workers build everything from steel to appliances and cars; farmers grow the crops that grace our tables; cooks, chefs and servers create and present delicious meals; baristas make our perfect cappuccino with a signature heart; shop owners wash their windows and welcome buyers and browsers alike; vintners produce world-class wines; brew masters labor over the next craft beer sensation; and the list goes on an on.

These are the 99 percent. These are the people, the overwhelming majority who are kind, energetic, passionate, hard-working and caring people — the real representatives of the human race. These are the people who deserve our attention because these are also the people who will solve the world’s challenges if we let them. These are the people for whom I give thanks during this special time of the year.

I would especially like to recognize all of those folks who will be doing what they do on Thanksgiving so that the rest of us can enjoy our families. Give a nod of thanks to the chefs, cooks, servers, managers, doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, retailers and other public servants who will be celebrating their Thanksgiving with friends and co-workers — their time of thanks with family will be a day or two later. I offer a warm “Happy Thanksgiving” to the 99 percent.

Paul Sorgule lives in Saranac Lake.

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