Forgiveness. Gratitude. You’ve heard this before.

Political and psychological liberation are entwined. When we first find enough safety to be outraged at the world’s enormous cruelty and injustice, the first (necesssary) step is to experience anger at all the ways in which we personally have been hurt. It is freeing, but it is also painful to feel the power of our indignance. It is not a joyous place from which to live our long days, (though there are political leaders who may profit from keeping us stuck there.)

Beyond anger at the way the world’s unfairness has hurt us is the realization that there have been many ways in which the same unfairness has worked to our advantage. Especially for Americans, it is true that we have lived in comfort not supported by our own labors.  We consume resources mined in poorer countries, and we purchase products made by laborers who live in squalor.

Beyond our economic circumstances, there is much, much more cause for our gratitude; and gratitude is a foundation for helping ourselves and others to co-create the kind of world in which we all wish to live.

— Josh Mitteldorf


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