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Don't Just Give Thanks. Pay It Forward One Act of Kindness at a Time

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It's been a hard, heart-wrenching, stomach-churning kind of year filled with violence and ill will.

It's been a year of hotheads and blowhards and killing sprees and bloodshed and takedowns.

It's been a year in which tyranny took a step forward and freedom got knocked down a few notches.

It's been a year with an abundance of bad news and a shortage of good news.

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It's been a year of too much hate and too little kindness.

Now we find ourselves approaching that time of year when, as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, we're supposed to give thanks as a nation and as individuals for our safety and our freedoms.

It's not an easy undertaking.

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How do you give thanks for freedoms that are constantly being eroded? How do you express gratitude for one's safety when the perils posed by the American police state grow more treacherous by the day? How do you come together as a nation in thanksgiving when the powers-that-be continue to polarize and divide us into warring factions?

It's not going to happen overnight. Or with one turkey dinner. Or with one day of thanksgiving.

Thinking good thoughts, being grateful, counting your blessings and adopting a glass-half-full mindset are fine and good, but don't stop there.

This world requires doers, men and women (and children) who will put those good thoughts into action.

It says a lot (and nothing good) about the state of our world and the meanness that seems to have taken center stage that we now have a day (World Kindness Day) devoted to making the world more collectively human in thoughts and actions. The idea for the day started after a college president in Japan was mugged in a public place and nobody helped him.

Unfortunately, you hear about these kinds of incidents too often.

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This is how evil prevails: when good men and women do nothing.

By doing nothing, the onlookers become as guilty as the perpetrator.

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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

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