I'm alone on this Thanksgiving Day but not lonely. And that's all thanks to you, the approximately 3000 readers of this blog. Knowing you folks are out there makes this a day for me to be thankful in a way that transcends turkey and conviviality.
Because you give me something to wonder about.
Who are you?
Especially you, that lone reader in Ukraine? And you in Malaysia? And the one in Latvia? The one in Brazil? And why are there 21 of you readers in Russia and 16 in Ireland?
What is it about American politics that drew you - even if only once - to my blog? Will you be back? More important to me, what is your life like? How are things going there?
And how are you doing, my American friends? What do you think of all that's going on?
It's so great to have people out there to talk politics with. Or - more accurately in my case - to talk politics AT. You're so shy about pitching in with comments! But that's okay. I know you're busy. (And see the P.S. below.) When one lives alone like I do, a one-way conversation is just fine. It's the norm!
At age 76, I've outlived most of my political friends and comrades. It's a bit sad when there is no one left who remembers or shares the passion of those struggles. Do you know the song: "Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end". These are the lyrics in English for the Russian song "Dorogoi dinnoyu." I think often of the lines in English: "We'd have the life we choose. We'd fight and never lose."
And we did. We lived, we fought the good fight, and in the end we did not lose. Well, maybe a skirmish here and there. But in the end, we won. All the hard work, sometimes scariness, and the sacrifice were worth it. We won because now you are there. You care about our world. You'll carry the good fight forward.
"The torch has passed to a new generation." Oh, yes!
I wish my political friends could have lived to know you. They had such faith that you were coming. In fact, all that we did, we did for you. "We must make it a better world for those who are coming." We actually said that.
Maybe it doesn't look like such a great world that we gave you, but it is a lot better then the one we got. There is very little war throughout the world compared to "the good old days" when millions were being killed. Nations of the world help when famine or disaster strikes a country. There are no lynchings any more in America. No longer are colleges closed to all but the sons of rich men. Women are equal beings before the law. Segregation is forbidden. The American middle class, though hard-pressed in these times, still lives far better than the middle class of my young years. And there are programs for the poor and elderly that didn't exist back then: food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, rent supplements, school lunch programs. The elderly and the disabled used to die by the thousands in America because they could not buy both food and medical care. The elders would freeze to death in their homes.
And people all over the world are ousting dictators.
It's better now. My friends rest in peace, knowing they did well. They rest in peace too because they know you will make things even better.
Live the life you choose. Fight and never lose. Then you too will never be sad when you are old and alone. And you too will, some distant day, rest in peace. And, most of all, don't forget this line from the song: "We'd sing and dance forever and a day." We did that too. You do likewise. Be happy. Good fighters have to have merry hearts like we did.
And now my heart is merry when I think of all of you, wherever you are. Thank you for being there. On this Thanksgiving Day you have made one old lady very happy indeed. You be happy too. And fight on!
P.S. A reader has informed me that this blog service makes it VERY difficult for people to leave comments. Therefore, I'll set up an e-mail address for your comments and post the address here soon. I apologize to anyone who has had difficulty trying to comment. Ah, the wonders of technology! But it beats smoke signals, right?