A Godless Liberal Gives Thanks

The election is behind us, and there’s plenty of people to be thankful for.

Though I am without religion, bothered by the whitewashing that is the foundation of our upcoming holiday, and a picky eater, I still feel that, even as a godless liberal, I have some people to be thankful for this year as it pertains to the political sphere. A brief list:

Our President

This one is a given, but important to mention. He has let me down frequently—and I reject the right’s characterizing of him as “the most liberal President we’ve ever had”; as if—but his case for a second term was much stronger than Mitt Romney’s case for a first. The election was closer than it should have been, but I’m thankful it ended the way it has. I share Bill Maher’s (potentially crass) hopes that in a second term we will see an even more progressive President, thus ending the “white term” Maher and other liberals like myself have often been frustrated by. I think it’s very important that progressives hold Obama’s feet to the fire on the things we all want to see get done in this second term—like ending the ridiculous Drug War, for example—but, for now, I’m just happy to say that he’s still our President. May we never have to speak of Mitt Romney again.

Rachel Maddow

One of the reasons I’m so happy to be working for The Good Men Project is that I think, more and more, citizen journalism really matters. And that’s the kind of work Rachel Maddow is doing, despite the fact that she’s on MSNBC. She is, I believe, one of our greatest minds, and what a boon for progressives that she’s on our side. Rachel Maddow does the research, tells the truth, asks for clarity. Her show is one that I watch every night, and I consistently find her to be the smartest person on television.

Matt Taibbi

Transitioning over to print journalism, I’m grateful every year to have a voice like Matt Taibbi’s in our political dialogue. His pieces for Rolling Stone are always spot-on, and the way he manages to impart tremendous amounts of research and information in such an accessible way is a real talent. I’ve heard a number of long-form podcast interviews with Matt—about Occupy, about Bank of America—and he provides a lot to chew on. Hoping we’ll see another book from him soon, too.

Sam Seder

Sam Seder is the host of The Majority Report, my favorite podcast. It’s one that I’m always trying to get more people to listen to. Sam’s reporting is thoroughly researched and honest, and his analysis and unpacking of this year’s election was especially brilliant. The distillations he manages to come to in the space of an hour, hour and a half, are so thoughtful and concise. For bonus points, Janeane Garofalo moonlights as Florida’s former Secretary of State, Katherine Harris. It makes for some of the very best political satire you’re likely to behold.

Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, deserves a national holiday, and I’m not sure there’s more that needs to be said beyond that. A must-read for anyone with even the slightest interest in issues of social justice, morality, or race relations. The facts presented throughout the book are stunning, and I think it’s a very important issue we ought to be talking about a lot more. A great gift come gift-giving time.

Image by jstuppy / flickr 

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About Vincent Scarpa

Vincent Scarpa is a graduate of Emerson College, and the 2012 Norman Mailer College Fiction award winner. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in journals like Hayden's Ferry Review, Baltimore Review, and plain china: Best Undergraduate Writing 2011. He tweets @vincentscarpa.

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