Ten things we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving
Inflation, while showing signs of relenting, continues to ravage our wallets and pocketbooks. The pandemic has killed more than one million Americans; the worst, knock on wood, is behind us, but hundreds of Americans continue to die from COVID-19 every day. And it feels like 2022 has been a particularly cruel year when it comes to both natural disasters and human-made ones.
And yet there is much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Here are ten things that come to our mind at CHN:
- Democracy. Democracy is messy; it took four days to find out who had won control of the Senate and even longer to confirm the tight House majority; at this writing, a number of House seats are still un-called, and of course there’s still the run-off for the Senate in Georgia. But 46 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, a little down from 2018, but well up from previous midterms.
- When liars do not prosper. Or at least if they do not assume public office. Among the 2020 election denying candidates for governor, secretary of state, or attorney general in the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania, one race isn’t yet called; all the other deniers lost these contests. We’re thankful for the voters in these states, and wherever else voters rejected lies.
- Young voters. While we’re still being thankful for democracy, a shout-out to 18-29-year-old voters, who had their second-biggest turnout in 30 years (27 percent voted; the record was 31 percent in 2018). Special thanks to the 3 million new young voters this year – our future depends on you.
- The role of government. Government protects us from disease, disaster, and deception. When it works right, it redresses racial/ethnic injustice. It invests in our future. It doesn’t always work right, but we are thankful for the Biden Administration’s successful fight for the Inflation Reduction Act and infrastructure funding, which make historic strides to protect us from catastrophic climate changes. The U.S. Census Bureau data released this fall once again demonstrated that programs including Social Security, SNAP, and tax credits lifted millions out of poverty the previous year. The COVID-19 response is another example of government investments. The private sector most certainly contributes to progress, but in order for the public good to be served, government funding and oversight is essential.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – we thank the Speaker for her leadership. The role of government we celebrate, and the concrete good it does? Much of that only happens when there are enough votes in Congress. Speaker Pelosi secured them, and as a consequence, millions of people have health insurance, child care, rental assistance, education aid, and relief from natural and man-made disasters. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
- Child Tax Credit outreach. CHN is part of a concerted national effort including United Way, Prosperity NOW, Code for America, the Partnership for America’s Children, Community Change, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and service providers and others nationwide to make sure families with low incomes knew they were eligible for the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit and how to apply for it. We were all directing families to the I.R.S., which sent out CTC payments to over 36 million households with more than 61 million children. Thanks for making a real difference in the lives of millions of children. Thanks for continuing the struggle to restore the credit for 2022 and beyond.
- United We Dream. United We Dream is the largest organization of young undocumented people fighting for Congress to provide legal status and a pathway to citizenship for people brought to the U.S. as children. We are thankful for their unflagging and brave commitment, their generosity of spirit, and all they do to make this country a better place.
- SAVE for All. We’re thankful to convene the SAVE for All campaign, which stands for Strengthening America’s Values and Economy for All. SAVE for All members routinely visit congressional members’ offices to discuss pressing human needs issues. We are particularly thankful for Richelle Friedman, who as CHN’s Director of Public Policy has helped lead the SAVE for All work. Richelle will be stepping away from CHN at the end of this year. More thanking and celebrating to come.
- Human Needs Heroes with a sense of humor. Last summer, at CHN’s annual Human Needs Heroes gala, we honored 40 years of commitment to lifting up people with low incomes and other vulnerable populations. As part of our celebration, several heroic advocates recorded a song parody called In the Big Hart Lobby (based on the Stephen Sondheim song, Broadway Baby – we remain grateful to Mr. Sondheim). It’s 3 and a half minutes, it’s silly, and one of our heroes, Ellen Teller, actually went to the Senate Hart office building to record her part. Go ahead and watch. For this, you can thank us.
- You. We at CHN are thankful for the member groups that belong to our coalition and the work they do, the hundreds of local, state, and national organizations who respond to our requests to contact officials or talk to the press, and the hundreds of thousands of individuals who support CHN through their actions, petition signatures, calls and emails to Congress, and donations. We could not take on this great work without your action and support.
We wish you a happy and joyous holiday – from all of us at CHN.