Ten Reasons to Be Thankful

In the spirit of the season (contrary to the spirit of the election season)

Here is a list of developments in national or world affairs for which we should all be thankful.

1.Since 2000, world hunger has been cut in half. There are a number of factors in this startling development, including the economic growth of China and India, the expansion of free trade, and greater global cooperation to combat extreme poverty.

2.The United States just had another free election—continuing a streak of free elections dating back to the election of George Washington in 1789. It may not have been a pleasant election, but there a multitude of nations that live under the yoke of tyranny and would dream of the possibility of a free election.

3.In addition, the United States is enjoying another peaceful transfer of power—a streak that extends back to Washington, as well. While Donald Trump ran on a platform that largely repudiated the achievements of President Obama, the president has proven exceedingly gracious in welcoming Trump to the White House and both Trump and Hillary Clinton were gracious in victory and defeat, respectively.

4.U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan have been roughly cut in half each of the past three years. There have been 13 deaths so far in 2016. While the loss of a single soldier, marine, sailor or airman is one too many, we can still appreciate that fewer of our men and women in uniform are dying in this protracted conflict.

5.Our nation’s first black president is about to conclude his second term in office. Whether you agree with his policies or not, President Obama’s election—and what it says about our country’s growth on matters of race—is worthy of appreciation.

6.The U.S. almost elected its first woman president. While Secretary Clinton’s run was not ultimately successful, she was surely not limited by her gender. Both parties have offered up female nominees for vice president in recent decades (Geraldine Ferrara and Sarah Palin) and outsider, Carly Fiorina, showed promise for a time in the GOP field in this past election. Our country is ready for a woman president—it just has to be the right one.

7.The Great Recession is over (by many measures). The nation is on solid economic footing again and, while the economic recovery has not reached wide swaths of the country, it has at least improved life for some. The challenge will be economically invigorating the inner city and rural America.

8.Cursed Cleveland finally brought home the NBA championship and the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in a century. Both of these fan bases had suffered for far too long and, in a year marked by civil unrest, cultural divisions and ugly politics, each of these sports storylines offered a welcome respite.

9.Peyton Manning, the great quarterback of both the Colts and the Broncos, ended his career with a Super Bowl victory. Manning was compared unfavorably with Tom Brady for much of his career because of his lack of playoff success. While his 2-1 Super Bowl record doesn’t compare to Brady’s 4-2 record, Manning still certainly managed to finish in style.

10.The political website, Political Storm, was created by founder Jon Saltzman. In an increasingly-polarized age, Saltzman saw a need for a bipartisan sitethat fosters dialogue. He also opened the site up to any person who wished to write about political matters—presaging the populist uprising in American politics in 2016.

On a personal note, I am thankful to be married to my best friend, to have two lovable little children, a ministry and community in both the church and the Army that excite me every day, a writing gig that satiates my political appetite, and a Lord and Savior whose love carries me in all seasons. Though our joys are often accompanied by sorrows, we have plenty of reasons to be thankful to God—if only we will stop and reflect upon his blessings.