This Thanksgiving, a message of gratitude — and frustration – Tennessee Lookout

As we enter the season of thankfulness, I am remembering that there are so many things for which I am grateful. I will share reasons why I am grateful but I must also share why I am frustrated.  

I love the United States and the state where I have always lived, Tennessee. I have been fortunate that I have been able to easily vote, express my opinions and sometimes send a check to a candidate. 

I am grateful for the freedom I have experienced but I also fear political leaders who do not support the Constitution, ignore racist rhetoric, and who do not condemn neo-Nazi propaganda. I am angry that we are not honoring our military who fought fascism and Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler during World War II. 

I am grateful that I live in a country where we are supposed to have freedom of the press. I can read good reporting.  I am glad the news media reports on  what former President Donald Trump believes about the Constitution and that he supports the treasonists who attacked the U.S. Capitol om  Jan. 6, 2021. 

On the other hand, I am so weary that Trump is on the news every day, on every network — and it seems like he is on every talk show.  It’s like we are living in a reality show featuring Trump and his antics, day after day.  I am so relieved and thankful that I can turn to other television options for escapism, including ESPN, the NFL network, the SEC network, the Hallmark Channel for holiday movies, and any cooking or home makeover channel.

I am thankful I grew up with a father who served in the military and was elected as Republican lawmaker. I am grateful that our close friends were Democrats and Republicans and that we agreed on about 90%  of the things we wanted for our community.

I am grateful that Scott County, Tenn.. was home of my father’s ancestors and was also home for the late U.S. Sen. Howard Baker and his father, U.S. Rep. Howard Baker — my father’s mentor. 

I am angry that the Republicans have allowed the Trump faction  to destroy the party of Abraham Lincoln.  They have run off GOP Sens. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts  and Bob Corker of Tennessee. Former congresspersons Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger, a military veteran, cannot participate in today’s Republican Party because they believe Trump encouraged the 2021 Capitol riot. 

Are they cowards? Is this the way Trump supporters  want to be remembered? 

I am thankful that my parents encouraged me to read, and to read anything, even “Cosmopolitan” magazine when I was a young teenager. I am beyond angry about the book banning movement in our state. It’s like we are going out of our way to bury our heads in the sand.  

Yes, “The Diary of a Young Girl,”  by Anne Frank is depressing but so was the Holocaust. Why don’t those who want to ban this book travel to Germany and tour a concentration camp? 

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, and I remain grateful that my parents put this book in my hand and talked to me about the unfairness of racism. I am beyond angry —  more like flabbergasted —  that  book banners have targeted the book. We have to talk about the sin of racism in the U.S. every day in order to fully cope with its effects. 

I am so grateful and humble to Tennessee’s teachers, and I am incredulous that the Tennessee Legislature is considering rejecting federal funding that is critical for our public schools to succeed.  Do our lawmakers want Tennessee to be ranked 50th in the ability to learn? How will this help us recruit new industry and jobs?

I am so grateful that I live in a community where I can pray with others during a year where our children were murdered while they were at school. Nashville will never recover from the tragic Covenant School shooting. I am so thankful for the courage and speaking out of those against gun violence who want sensible gun laws that will put our children first. 

I am in awe of the parents who have had their children killed by guns and who are trying to make Tennessee a safer place for all children.  I am angry that the Republicans in our Tennessee Legislature will not take steps to protect our children from guns and our lack of gun control.  

But I’m grateful for living in a country in which we can run for office against those lawmakers who choose not to respond to pleas from parents who want their children to live through many more holidays.



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