If our 2020 Thanksgiving is minimal, it doesn’t matter. Thanksgiving 2120, 100 years from now, does matter.

This Thanksgiving, in the year 2120, I am thankful that my ancestors resolved the political issues that roiled the nation a century ago.

I am thankful that they refined their democracy, changed the laws, amended the Constitution and prevented civil violence. If you look at those old photographs of people carrying firearms to political rallies, it makes you wonder what might have happened if things had gone the other way.

Think about it. China is a world power. Russia is a world power. India is a world power. If America had splintered, we would have been exploited by foreign powers, and, today, we would likely be a series of impoverished banana republics and maybe occupied by foreign powers.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful that our ancestors avoided nuclear war.

I am thankful that Americans who lived a century ago successfully addressed the climate change issues they faced.

I am grateful our ancestors recognized that prosperity and national strength require healthy citizens and took the steps necessary to insure the nation’s health.

I am grateful that Americans with dark skin, who are now a majority of our population, have graciously abstained from seeking revenge for the time when they suffered discrimination.

I am thankful that our ancestors recognized that liberty and cooperation are not incompatible.

If we bring out the best in ourselves, every generation will have an opportunity to live better than the previous generation. We had responsible ancestors. If we care about our children and grandchildren, we will also be responsible ancestors.

Jack Stevenson, who served two years in Vietnam as an infantry officer, retired from military service, worked three years as a U.S. Civil Service employee and in Egypt as an employee of the former Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Currently, the retiree reads history, follows issues important to Americans, and writes commentary for community newspapers.

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