This was certainly a different Thanksgiving than normal, with so many of us taking precautions to isolate from our families instead of joining them. Nevertheless, it’s good to practice gratitude, so I will be listing some of what I’m thankful for this year, as well as some of what I’m not thankful for.
I am mostly thankful for this year’s election results. A pretty good primary season that will bring some new blood to the state legislature was followed by a general election that featured the long-awaited defeat of Donald Trump. And I’m thankful that when all the votes were counted, Democrats made gains in the state Senate and held even in the state Assembly. I’m thankful especially that state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus were both re-elected.
I’m not thankful for the election results on Staten Island. Brooklyn voted for Congressman Max Rose, but Staten Island overwhelmingly voted to replace him with Nicole Malliotakis. Yikes.
I’m thankful for the resilience of New Yorkers. We got hit harder than anywhere else in America at the beginning of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’ve handled the resurgent second and third waves as well as pretty much anywhere in America.
I’m not thankful for New York exceptionalism: this belief that we are totally different — and better — than anywhere else in America or the world. That exceptionalism caused us to be unprepared for the coronavirus when it came to us, because we thought we were better than it.
That exceptionalism also makes us put up with a lot of crappy quality-of-life and government issues that nowhere else in America would tolerate. We’re a special place and a special city, but let’s not let it go to our heads.
I’m thankful for the thousands of activists, and the several dozen politicians, who are trying to push our city and state in a progressive and compassionate direction even during difficult times.
I’m not thankful for how Mayor Bill de Blasio has handled any of this year’s challenges. He’s slow-to-react, inflexible, and self-righteous. It’s pretty clear that no one who works for him is able to get through to him. That’s probably why so many of them have quit this year.
I’m thankful for my health, my friends, my loved ones, and my general good fortune.
I’m saddened it has been such a difficult year for so many people. In addition to those who got sick, so many have lost their business and jobs. Crime is up across the country, many people are unemployed, and more people are hungry this year than in a long, long time in America.
I’m thankful for a free press and the privilege of writing my column somewhere people can read it. Remember to support your local news organizations!
Nick Rizzo is a former Democratic District Leader and a political consultant who lives in Greenpoint. Follow him on Twitter @NickRizzo.