This Thanksgiving provides a good chance for reflection about what we value. For me, I am most grateful for family and friends. Without them, I have nothing. I am also very thankful to be living in a beautiful area that helps to keep me relatively sane.
The recent fires and the flooding also clearly demonstrated the value of the first responders to emergencies. As they have done time and time again, these people have risen to the occasion for which we are extremely grateful. FEMA also provided vital support during these emergencies.
I am thankful too for the whistleblowers who have called attention to the violations of laws by those wielding corporate and governmental power. These whistleblowers — Edward Snowden, Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, Julian Assange, and many, many other courageous and lesser-known individuals — have sacrificed their positions and risked imprisonment to alert us about crimes and threats to our interests. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_whistleblowers for a partial list, the magnitude of which may shock you as well as alert you to the service these people are providing. Of special concern to me was my lack of awareness of many of the more recent whistleblowers.
I am also thankful for alternative media members who strive to see that the public is kept informed. For example, Bill Moyers brings vital information to the public through his television programs and has done this for many years. He interviews knowledgeable guests who are willing to challenge harmful corporate and governmental policies. Moyers' interviews were especially important after the financial collapse of 2008. His guests then pointed out the financial crimes and shady dealing by Wall Street and the too-big-to-jail banks.
Included in the alternative media are "The Daily Show with John Stewart" and the "Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert." These programs both use humor and engage with a younger audience to get the word out about the failings of the corporate media and of the dangers of corporate influence on government.
Locally I am grateful for KGNU radio (88.5 FM and 1390 AM) and Colorado Public Television, Channel 12 with its sub-channel 12.3 (252 on Comcast). These stations provide wonderful news programming. David Barsamian and his Alternative Radio program (Wednesday at 6 p.m. on KGNU) also brings informed speakers to the airwaves locally and nationally.
I am really thankful for all those who serve the public interest.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" column runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.