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Our Opinion

Our Opinion: Happy Thanksgiving from The Berkshire Eagle

A volunteer serves a meal

A volunteer for the Berkshire Food Project hands out a Thanksgiving meal during the group's dinner celebration Monday.

Today, many of us will take a seat at the dinner table to give thanks for what we too often take for granted: good food with beloved company, precious time with family, all of the offerings in the fast-approaching holiday season.

There’s also much to be thankful for from the seat of the editor’s desk. As a community newspaper seeking to serve our Berkshire neighbors, we see much of what goes on in our communities — the good news, the bad news and everything in between. Reading in between those lines, we see so much of what makes us grateful to call this county and its community ours. Here are three of the big ones:

Service

There is nothing quite like the Berkshires’ unique combination of resourceful grit and neighborly compassion. We see it every day in every corner of our county. Even as their budgets stagnate in the face of growing need, food pantries and other nonprofits fought through pandemic complications to meet and even expand their missions. When Afghan evacuees landed in our neck of the woods after escaping unimaginable chaos earlier this year, area faith communities, veterans organizations and civic groups came together seamlessly to give a collective embrace to our newest neighbors. As Pittsfield continues to grapple with a worsening homelessness problem, a city native who remembers having to search the street for his next meal as a teenager donated a sizable piece of West Housatonic Street land toward an ongoing transitional housing project. These are just a handful of the stories from this year alone reminding us that no matter how wild the world, no matter how polarizing our politics, no matter how dire the mood, ours is a community of helpers who never stop searching for ways to come together in service of the most vulnerable.

Democracy

A midterm election cycle as tense as it was pivotal drew millions of American eyes, but often overlooked are the local election workers who make up the sturdy, homegrown foundation of our entire democracy. As has often been the case in history, our democracy is not without its discontents. Yet while high-profile election-denying shenanigans and rhetoric often grab headlines, some of the most dangerous consequences of that irresponsible behavior get comparably less attention in the reductive lens of cable news and social media punditry. Take, for example, the serious threats and weaponizing floods of records requests endured by clerks offices across the county and throughout the commonwealth ahead of the recent midterms. This poisonous political atmosphere makes the often thankless work of election officials and poll workers all the more difficult and even dangerous. Yet amid this atmosphere, elections in Berkshire County went quite smoothly. Often, people will complain when things go wrong but not say much at all when things go right. To us, however, the good work of democracy carried out by our communities clerks and poll workers does not go unnoticed — and we’re thankful.

Community

Most of all, we are thankful for the opportunity to be your community newspaper. We see up close the concerned citizens who carry the proud tradition of New England local democracy at small-town meetings. We know the pride of families who save clips about their loved one’s community service or cut out their kid’s photo from the sports section. And we hear you when you sound off — sometimes in healthy disagreement with us — through letters to the editor. That community spirit is what we see and hope to reflect in our work, and we can only do that because of our readership. For you, we are most thankful.

The Berkshire Eagle wishes all a Happy Thanksgiving.

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