Two of the most treasured traditions in the U.S. occur during the month of November: Election Day and Thanksgiving.

On Nov. 3, millions of Americans heeded the call to vote in what was said to be the most important presidential election in recent history. They were told their votes would count and despite challenges by the incumbent, Donald Trump, votes were counted and recounted. The result was the hard-fought election victory of president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris. Every vote mattered.

The Democratic notion of one person – one vote emanated from the founding fathers of this nation who earlier settled and renamed this land the United States of America. We understand the controversial history of this country’s founding but we also know that the celebration of Thanksgiving, which dates back to the early 1600s, is a time when families gather to give thanks for the things that matter most in their lives.

Now that the election is over and the holiday is past, the other tradition that will weigh heavily on the future of all Americans is the result of the 2020 census. The count is over but just as the 2019 census showed the decrease in the number and size of families in the U.S., empty seats around the Thanksgiving table proved it. And, with food lines growing all across the country, its shows that of all 79.6 million families in 2019, 8.6 percent lived below poverty level – and the number is growing. The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on the poverty rate, adding substantially to the previously reported 11.9 million American households that had no employed workers in a year.

The stain of 2020 will remain with us for years to come and November may be marked as its most memorable month. We’ll ask ourselves, how we made it, and next November, we’ll recount and give thanks for whatever those things were that got us through.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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