By general consensus, 2020 has been the worst year in recent memory.
The world has been devastated by a deadly virus. Iowa is hit especially hard with more than 2,200 COVID-19 deaths and counting. We are physically isolated because of the pandemic, but also socially isolated as contentious elections and the racial justice awakening further divide the nation.
It’s all laid on top of our preexisting problems, such as climate change, inequality, and many others.
Even in times like these — or especially in times like these, maybe — we still find a lot to be thankful for.
• We are thankful for health care workers who are risking their own health to battle the pandemic.
• We are thankful for public health experts and communicators offering vital and timely information, sometimes in defiance of their bosses in state government.
• We are thankful for essential workers who keep our distribution lines and grocery stores running so others can safely stay home.
• We are thankful to scientists who are developing a coronavirus vaccine in record time, including some at the University of Iowa.
• We are thankful for the teachers who put their students first in the face of great uncertainty and constantly changing plans.
• We are thankful for the volunteers and workers who have spent untold hours cleaning up from the August derecho, especially those who came from out of state to help keep roofs over Cedar Rapidians’ heads.
• We are thankful for nonprofit leaders who quickly pivoted to provide basic services to the countless families impacted by our ongoing challenges.
• We are thankful for poll workers who carried out a historic election under unprecedented circumstances.
We look forward to 2021 with hope of more to be thankful for. By this time next year:
• We hope the coronavirus pandemic and the disruption to daily life will be behind us.
• We hope civility will overtake rigid partisanship in our political discourse.
• We hope rationality and sensible policymaking replace erratic governance at the federal level.
• We hope government budgets make significant investments in the people and systems helping us survive these dark moments.
• We hope the state and nation make tangible progress toward ending racial disparities in the criminal justice system and elsewhere.
Iowans should ask themselves — what do you hope to be thankful for next Thanksgiving? And what will you do to make it happen?
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