248 Comments

Heather you are at the top of our list of what we are grateful for this past difficult, daunting year. Many thanks to you, your intellect, your ability to frame what you know in teachable stories and most of all your willingness to share your time and energy. We are so grateful! The Lincoln history is invaluable and enlightening and why am I just now learning these details? Sigh. I just didn't know what I didn't know, which is a lot!

Expand full comment

Carla, don't be so hard on yourself. All of us are sorely lacking information on where we came from as a nation. We barely got the Cliff's Notes version of history in school, let alone the level of detail and nuance HCR has brought to these letters and the discussions thereby triggered!

There was a time that people read biographies of great men (and women) and thorough histories of countries and whole civilizations, and this was considered a well-rounded education. Now we watch "Survivor" and such, and no one (present company excluded!) seems to have any intellectual curiosity anymore.

Expand full comment

So true.

Expand full comment

With 123 “likes,” you are clearly not the only one “just now learning these details!” And there’s a reason Heather has nearly 750,000 followers on Facebook! Also, more important than the content of what we are learning is the process. We go to reliable sources and engage in critical thinking, rather than accepting propaganda at face value.

Expand full comment

All very true, Ellie. All very true. I appreciate hearing from kindred spirits on this discussion board.

Expand full comment

It seems appropriate this year that the Lincoln Project has done an ad for Thanksgiving. This is a beautiful ad and I encourage everyone to watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyOlj5NoJbk I particularly like that they chose Colonial Vindman as the representative of Patriots we should thank. These disenfranchised Republicans did some excellent ads that helped Biden get elected. I, for one, would like to see the Lincoln Project become the Lincoln Party and split from what has become of the Republican Party. Maybe it could even be the moderate and inclusive party that I dream of, a party of synergy respecting each persons voice and egalitarianism. May we all count our blessings that we still have a democracy this Thanksgiving but do note that the slaveholders are still consolidating their wealth through kleptocracy. Money is not free speech, but it is legalized corruption under Citizens United. We need a new definition of uniting citizens with the goal of achieving true social justice for all.

Expand full comment

It’s a cool ad, and the image of Colonel Vindman brought tears to my eyes. The final frames said “LPTV”, which gave me a bit of a pause; early days, and hopeful ones, but I don’t count on establishment Never-Trump Republicans changing their spots entirely on key issues like climate change, climate justice, environmental conservation or preservation, or re-regulation to protect ordinary citizens and our public lands.

Still, I am grateful that enough Americans coalesced into a majority that repudiated the Trump juggernaut, that we’re headed toward a Presidency that takes its responsibilities to the nation seriously, and that HCR so gracefully synthesizes current events and political history on a daily basis. Thank you, Heather, for your brave service, and thank you, everyone here, for your participation in democratic conversation.

Expand full comment

There may not be a change of spots, but the value of a reasonable and civil opposition is in the honing of one's arguments and policies and the Lincoln Project, along with similar groups may provide a political home for those who the Trumpist Republicans have deserted in their madness.

Expand full comment

We can hope that they are able to take back their party.

Expand full comment

That would be excellent, but at least they can hope to provide a responsible alternative choice. There are enough serious players so that ballot access and competent campaigning wouldn't be an issue.

Expand full comment

Thank you for the ad. Seeing Colonel Vindman brought tears. A true patriot.

Expand full comment

Agree. His name should definitely be written in the history books

Expand full comment

I hope he and his twin brother are asked to have a place somewhere in the new administration.

Expand full comment

Yes! Col. Vindman is the right representative.

Expand full comment

Of all the Trump victims, Colonel Vindman is the one we remember. He really stood up and showed cowardly Congress and the rest of us what it means to take a hit for the country. Where is he now? What can a BidenHarris administration do for him? ❤️🤍💙

Expand full comment

In November 2020, Vindman joined the staff of the national security blog Lawfare with a fellowship of the Pritzker Military Foundation.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/alexander-vindman-joins-lawfare-team

Expand full comment

1000% agreement. The cabal of slaveowners is Corp America and the 1%. Hope the Lincoln Project becomes the new party. End Citizens United.

Expand full comment

I agree with all you said. Thank you for the Lincoln Project ad. I follow them but had not yet seen this one. I truly think the LP had an impact in the election.

Expand full comment

Thanks for that link. It made me "good cry." This video, plus Dr. Richardson's facts, sets a holiday tone that, unlike other Thanksgivings, is deeply meaningful.

Expand full comment

I, too, am grateful to the voices and visuals of The Lincoln Project. They were clever, harshly critical, and wittily brilliant about Trumpistan. I also appreciated Steve Schmidt and David Plouffe on their podcast The Battleground. (And, Plouffe on his Campaign HQ.) While I am a lifelong Democrat, I like listening to their podcasts. I supported them $ from early on and believe their smarts and clear messaging helped defeat Trump. Post election, I’m reluctant to lose their input. Although I don’t think The Lincoln Project will become a party, the rumor that Schmidt might run for office would have me splitting my ticket. ❤️🤍💙

Expand full comment

Yes, I supported them and still do. I have listened to many of their podcasts and always learn new insights. They have said they are going to stay in the game to defeat Trumpism, not just Trump, and already have their eyes set on one of my most hated slime balls, Marco Rubio. If you haven’t yet listened to the Lincoln Podcast #62, it’s a good one.

Expand full comment

The Lincoln Party is a great idea, Cathy. Thank you for sharing the video.

Expand full comment

I saw that ad on Brian Williams show last night. Truly wonderful.

Expand full comment

Thank you for sharing this.

Expand full comment

Dear Heather, having lost my wife to cancer this year makes these days feel so empty. Your words have carried me through many of the days since Rita died. Facing the challenges of this year with all the looming election carried left me close to despair on many days. Your posts have played an enormous role in helping me remember what is crucial and to turn toward hope. While I am filled with gratitude for all that has been done for and given to me over these months, using the word happy still feels too hard. Today's post has been tremendously helpful. Thanksgiving in the face of loss is exactly what I need to remember. Bless you and thank you.

Expand full comment

Thank you, everyone. The community that has been created here is such a gift.

Expand full comment

I am thinking about you today. Take care.

Expand full comment

You have friends here.

Expand full comment

Here too.

Expand full comment

Sending you hope and strength on the wings of freedom and gratitude for Heather and her hopeful message of unity❣️❣️❣️

Expand full comment

Chris, I refer to it as the sucky year of firsts. It does get better and Rita will always be in your heart. And there will always be days that your partner is missed. It's been 7 years & I really, really wanted him here so we could discuss the state of affairs. Hugs to you.

Expand full comment

I had prided myself on the fact that I taught my son to question authority respectfully. However, in the past 4 years, I found myself not just questioning authority but giving up hope that I would ever see authority in this country worthy of respect. In May, a friend suggested I read one of your letters. I did. And my entire outlook changed. Your talks provided me with historical perspective previously lacking in my education. I learned that we had been through similar low points and managed not just to survive them but to take steps to prevent future occurrences. Sometimes we succeeded, other times not so much. Today, I give thanks for my family, our health, our livelihoods. I also give thanks for someone whom I never met, yet whom I’ve cheerfully invited into my home on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Happy Thanksgiving.

Expand full comment

Thank you, Fran, for writing this. Glad to have you as a strong member of Heather's Herd of Hope.

Expand full comment

Hadn't heard of Heather's Herd of Hope! Hopefully, Herd is heightening heedfulness to Heather's historiography.

Expand full comment

And building herd immunity to hopelessness!

Expand full comment

What struck me most from today's Letter was the notion that immigrants would be streaming INTO a country in the midst of its Civil War. Oh, that crazy America and her little surprises. Bless her heart. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Expand full comment

One of the things I am most thankful for this year is that I found you, Professor Richardson....you helped me keep my sanity through an insane year (which we aren't done with yet). Thank you for putting things in context and helping make sense of the craziness. Happy Thanksgiving, Professor Richardson from a grateful follower.

Expand full comment

The rescue of our democracy by those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is the most over-the-top reason for thanksgiving that I can imagine.

Expand full comment

Hear, Hear!

Expand full comment

I can not thank you enough for writing on the subject of Thanksgiving! Since you touched on it’s origins over the past few days, I have wanted to know the exact events that occurred to create this holiday. I wanted to share this truth with my grandson today. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the true history Of Thanksgiving had been taught in school?

Your teachings are invaluable! And as I read your recitations of what happened in the past I can relate them so easily with current events. It is like an echo that hasn’t finished. Hopefully, the vibration will smooth out on the side of what’s good and right, the equality of all humans.

I wish you and yours, as well as all my fellow readers, a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Expand full comment

Happy Thanksgiving morning, all!! "They won," Dr. R says. Let today be a win for us all. On a personal note, my two estranged sisters each reached out to me to offer their wish that I have a Happy Birthday and Thanksgiving. Not the entire nation, but a win one step at a time.

Expand full comment

What a gift for both occasions! Yes, one step at a time... may there be many more small events like yours that end up in a national reconciliation!

Expand full comment

No doubt those were emotional phone calls . . .May you find peace today and in the coming days.

Expand full comment

Happy birthday, Lynell.

Expand full comment

Happy, happy!! A beautiful gesture from the darkness of estrangement to the light of familial unity❣️❣️

Expand full comment

Very Happy Birthday and a Happy New Year!

Expand full comment

Happy Thanksgiving to you Professor Richardson and to all of you who share these pages.

I was writing to my best friend this morning, in answer to his letter of holiday best wishes. His, like ours, is a pared-down version of what it normally is, but these thoughts came to me, about how much we have to be grateful for, and to work for. I wanted to share them with you.

Thanksgiving Day 2020

Those of us who are alive and well, have cause to be grateful.

Those of us who can enjoy the company of family, have cause to be grateful.

Those of us with friends and family with whom we can speak and share our love, have cause to be grateful.

Those of us who have lost someone dear to them, deserve our love.

Those of us who serve on the front lines fighting to save our lives, deserve our gratitude and support.

Those of us who are alone, deserve our attention.

Those of us who are suffering this very moment, deserve not to be forgotten, to be loved, to be touched.

Those of us who are vulnerable, deserve our commitment to containing this virus and preserving their lives.

Those of us who are hungry, without shelter, or fearful of losing that which they have, deserve our care, deserve to know their government is doing everything within its power to lessen their suffering. And they deserve respect – respect that is manifested in action that demonstrates the dignity of each individual, by providing them with the means to feed and shelter themselves.

Expand full comment

Thank you for this meaningful “prayer”. You’ve said it all for me! 🥰❤️🤍💙

Expand full comment

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! A true celebration of the triumph of democracy made all the better now that we have something to look forward to after 4 dark years. At last decent people who care for, and respect the equality of, all are back in charge.

Expand full comment

Yes, it looks like democracy is still alive but it won't be healthy again until the current bunch of rich Slaveholders are brought to heel. I may not sleep well until January 20, 2021, at noon. And, then the hard work and visionary thinking we need to do will probably take a couple of decades for us to realize the more Perfect Union we'd like to have.

Expand full comment

I don't think the work ever ends. There will be pushback for the election of Biden & Harris, just as there was for the election of Barack Obama. The real work begins now.

Expand full comment

And it doesn't end even when ALL the people's real and perceived needs are addressed. Working hard for the wellbeing of ALL the people is the intrinsic raison d'être of elected politicians and representatives....otherwise they serve no purpose other than to impose their personal power.

Expand full comment

And all of that in a much more difficult world. It's a start!

Expand full comment

Well, that very difficult world is the requisite, fractured foundation upon which an improvement can be constructed.

Expand full comment

Yes...once it has stopped falling apart. We will need the political equivalent of an "anti-earthquake building code" .

Expand full comment

We need to start by fixing that fractured foundation. One must build on a solid foundation. One of the issuess have been the "remedies" for our problems are more bandaids than solutions.

Expand full comment

Oh, how I want to agree --- long to agree --- with you! However, as strong a position as the Presidency is in this country, the Legislature and the Judiciary are co-equally strong. Yes, let us be grateful for the Biden-Harris win, but let us not let down our guard against a too-Republican Senate and a not-enough Democratic House and a way-too-"conservative" Supreme Court. Let us all, throughout America, help the people of Georgia send us two Democratic Senators. Stacy Abrams, how can we best help you?

Expand full comment

Each of the balancing powers must be rededicated to the service of ALL the people, each in their constitutional role. We have to finish with the partisan dominance of minorities of any sort in any of the co-equal branches of government.

Expand full comment

Rededicating to the service of all the people must entail removing McConnell from his powerful majority position, and to do that, we must do whatever we can to help Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock get elected to the Senate.

Expand full comment

Last night, I --with much help from family and friends-- finished writing 250 postcards to Georgians, urging them to go vote for Warnock and Ossoff. A small, but I hope useful effort.

I was struck by the diversity of names to whom we were writing. There were many names that I think of as particularly Southern, like Cedric, Chandler, and Chrystal Jane; but there were also many names loved by the Black community, like Danae, Laneesha, and Courtné. And then, names from other countries! From Sigrid to Paulo to Achmed, Lu Wan, Eduardo, Javier, and Srivasta ---I was amazed and delighted. With all our faults, America remains the most diverse and tolerant country I've ever lived in, visited, or know about. And yes, tolerance is the virtue we still need huge amounts of work on, but I'm thankful we have the opportunity to practice it here and look forward to our getting closer to that ideal. A good Thanksgiving to all, and Heather, thank you particularly for creating this kind and articulate community of searchers after a more perfect union.

Expand full comment

I too am writing postcards to those in Georgia, and my sister has already completed her stack of postcards. Like you, I was struck by the diversity of names as well. My sister and I both feel it’s something positive and doable to try to make a difference. Thank you to your family & friends for your awesome contributions to the postcard writing efforts. 🤗

Expand full comment

It is my deepest wish that President Biden will set a national day of recognition and mourning, for all those who have sacrificed so much during this pandemic and for those who have lost their lives to the virus. For families bereft, for all the creativity and productivity that will never be realized, for all those empty seats at our Thanksgiving tables this year. Recognition for the bus drivers, meat cutters, grocery clerks, election workers, everyone who has worked despite the risks to keep society functioning. And for our heroic medical professionals, many working past the point of exhaustion in the struggle to keep their patients alive.

Expand full comment

Unfortunately, it doesnt seem like we can do that until the infection rate goes back down to manageable levels. Otherwise those essential workers would not be able to take a break from their jobs, so they can take part in the day that honors them.

Four years ago, I did not think the country would survive to this day. Now we need only waiting perhaps just one year until vaccines have been widely dispersed and we should be able to return to our jobs and our loved ones once again. By next Thanksgiving we should have SO MUCH to be grateful for.

Expand full comment

Bruce Springsteen in a interview recently talked about how looking back is our springboard to looking forward by giving context. Thank you for our daily context. Be safe.

Expand full comment

He who forgets history........

Expand full comment

Amongst many things to be thankful for are your wonderful, informative and uplifting posts, a beacon of civility and articulacy. Thank you!

Expand full comment

I am writing to thank you sincerely for the work you have done with your letters. You have brought us the historical precedents behind today’s news, drawn parallels that enlightened us, encouraged us when the world seemed too dark to manage, gave us permission to take a day off every now and then, motivated us to press on and work harder, and reminded us why we love this imperfect, fractured nation of ours. Thank you.

Expand full comment