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FULL BELLY OF GRATITUDE: Reflections of thanks

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As the light dims on the year, and perhaps on democracy, there’s a lot to be thankful for here in North Carolina. First, I’m thankful for the Full Belly Nut Brown Ale sitting in front of me here at the Flytrap as I write this. It’s a locally brewed craft beer with a hint of coffee and pecan. A portion of the proceeds for the initial roll out went to Wilmington’s local Full Belly Project. 

I’m thankful I recovered quickly from election-night nausea. I have a strong stomach for public tragedy, but when North Carolina was called for the Empire I felt like Obi-wan when the Death Star pulverized Alderon: “I feel a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.”

I’m grateful I’m again strong enough to resist the power of the dark side, the urge to make a quick buck, build walls, register members of any religion, or grab a cat whenever I feel the itch.

I’m thankful this will be the last Thanksgiving with McCrory. Take note America: McCrory and his administration are great examples of what happens when people tire of barely adequate, laughably boring progressive politicians that see a role for government in solving problems, and replace them with businessmen and religious zealots. Cut teacher’s salaries to improve education. Cut film incentives. Stay enslaved to the fossil-fuel industry. Deny climate science. Pollute the water. Close the bathrooms.

Suck it up, buttercup.

Despite my disappointment about the election’s outcome, I am extraordinarily thankful only a minority of people actually voted for “Trumperica.”  Hillary Clinton will have more than a 1 million popular vote lead in an election with the lowest percent of eligible voter turnout since 1996. A little over one in four of 220 million eligible voted for the president-elect. With a population of 310 million, that means less than one in five stakeholders in our future actually voted for the president-elect. Hillary estimated about half are deplorables. I figure only about one in 20 of his supporters are misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, narcissistic, empathy-free deplorables. That’s about 1 percent of us, which is coincidentally about the same as the percent of psychopaths in the general population. As always, it will be up to the 99 percent to rein in the one percent.

I’m grateful we had the wisdom to overwhelmingly vote for Obama. Twice! For eight years we’ve walked a few steps with one of the most eloquent and humble men to reside in the White House. What Obama has done and said have earned him a Nobel Peace prize, not started any more wars, helped stabilize the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, helped provide health insurance for 30 million citizens, and taken the problem of climate change and clean energy seriously. What his words and actions have not done is equally admirable. In eight years of racism, slander and principled opposition, he hasn’t had to explain why he traded arms for hostages, his predatory sexual behavior, or say, “I resign.” History will judge which Obama policy achievements remain after the next 4 years, but clearly we will not have such intellect, poise, eloquence, or humility working for us from the Oval Office for at least four years. 

I’m grateful on January 20, 2017, the ineloquent casino king will start working for me and you, and come November 3, 2020 we get to say, “You’re fired!”

Finally, I’m thankful to have a chance to write a few words here, glad people read them and proud to call so many artists my friends. Author Neil Gaiman said whether you’re having a bad day or a horrible day, “make good art.” The VP elect recently attended “Hamilton.” The optimistic cast encouraged him toward inclusiveness. Artists always have served as the conscience of the king. When I sit at Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll be thankful to sit among people striving only to pull their own weight and pursue their passions—scientists, healers and artists. Artists seem to intuit life’s biggest challenge is independent of any king. It’s not “Make America Great Again,” it’s to “Make Each Other Great Always.”   

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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