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Thoughts on Thanksgiving

by Gila Hayes

Be thankful! How odd that in the land of plenty, we need to be reminded to practice gratitude! Emotional blows, losses and defeats tend to blind us to the huge variety of advantages we enjoy as Americans. When a loss or defeat removes an opportunity, numerous other options spread out before us just waiting to be recognized. The secret is keeping the open mind necessary to detect the next opportunity. Feeling thankful is one of the best ways I know to fuel the creative mind that detects the many choices we have.

Thank goodness we have a national holiday to remind us of the power of thankfulness! I doubt I was alone in feeling discouraged in the aftermath of the general election last month. In a political race in which I felt personally invested, a faux-conservative congressional representative was ousted in the primary election, leading to a nasty general election runoff that should have sent a conservative Special Forces veteran to represent my congressional district in the “other Washington.”

Instead, after counting the votes, Washington State is trying to send another rubber stamp liberal to shore up the progressive voting bloc in Washington D.C. and will likely do just that unless the conservative can raise enough money to pay for a recount since the race is not close enough to trigger an automatic recount.

I have little faith that our votes were counted accurately, having lost that illusion in 2004 when Washingtonians’ votes were counted and recounted over and over again until that year’s close gubernatorial race went the way desired by those in power. I find it hard to see our blessings, advantages and opportunities while being ruled by a corrupt government.

What Zig Ziglar memorably termed an attitude of gratitude is the best medicine for such disappointments. I am fortunate, as are all of us here at the Network, to be associated with truly stellar leaders who make up our Advisory Board and my husband Marty and our partner Vincent Shuck, with my stalwart working team and with the most generous members to ever compose any organization. As proof, I offer Exhibit A – the voluntary donations Network members frequently add to their dues to further build up the Legal Defense Fund at renewal time.

Next month, when I write the 2022 Year In Review article that has become something of a tradition in this online journal, the Legal Defense Fund will have grown beyond the $3.6 million-plus balance it maintains today, thanks in large part to voluntary donations members have added to dues payments, as well as the regular membership renewals sent in by women and men who have been part of our Network family for many years. With this, we combine the strong new membership growth we enjoyed throughout the fall and early winter and find even further cause for gratitude.

We have always kept tight restraints on our expenses so we can hold down the cost of Network membership. It has long been my goal that Network membership remain available to folks who earn only a modest pay check or rely on fixed retirement or disability income and who can, by prioritizing their expenses, afford membership in the Network. One of my biggest inspirations in stringently controlling our operating expenses has been the way our more financially able members voluntarily increase their dues payment with donations earmarked for the Legal Defense Fund.

I can’t promise to hold the line forever, but I am proud to point out that we have not increased dues since January 1, 2016. Whether you are a member who “rounds up” your $95 yearly renewal dues to an even hundred bucks or if you are the amazing couple that set up an autopay on their checking account to send a $5 donation every single month or if you are the man or woman who adds an additional donation on top of your $95 dues, you are my inspiration. Your generosity and the way you share our mission of looking out for our fellow armed citizen members drives me to work harder, smarter and leaner. I am so thankful for you, my generous Network family.

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.