Bob Denny: Giving thanks to others

Published: Monday, June 10, 2013 at 4:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 10, 2013 at 4:18 p.m.

T.J. Holmes, CNN anchor, ended one of his recent Sunday morning news reports with this statement: “Thank you for what you do.” This started me thinking. What a meaningful message. Could it be, that everyone contributes something that we should feel thankful for?

Pianist Roger Williams died this last year at age 87. Roger touched us with sentimental, easy listening songs like “Autumn Leaves” (1955, greatest piano hit yet), “Born Free,” “Near You,” “La Mer” (Beyond the Sea), “Wanting You” and many more. Thanks Roger, for what you did for those many years.

Also last year, hecklers John Nichols and John Reynolds, leaders of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, prevented Rep. John Lewis and Rep. John Reynolds from making speeches in Atlanta, by heckling them. Word for word, their message: “…the point of this general assembly is to kick start a democratic process, in which no singular human being is inherently more valuable than any other human being.”

Lewis and Rep. Charlie Rangel were interviewed after being shouted off the stage. They agreed with the protesters, and their right to be heard. They agreed that no one human being should be treated as more valuable than any other. It was a rough presentation, guys, but thanks, protesters, for helping us to hear opinions that might otherwise go unheard.

All people are valuable. We could ask ourselves, should we continue to borrow money from other nations to bail out banks and Wall Street, while one of every four children in Georgia grows up in poverty?

What about fruits and vegetables dying on the vine in America’s heartland, because of increased crackdown on migrant workers, who are often undocumented aliens, who do the picking? Farmers say they will fail this year, without the help of these workers. Yes, it’s true that since they are not in the established legal system, they take advantage of many services paid for by American citizens. In the same circumstances, we might do the same thing as these workers in order to survive or keep our families from suffering poverty or hunger.

Can’t we find a better way? Could our laws be more humane? Could we develop a more reasonable system, with an opportunity for legalizing their labor, or for providing a pathway in which they could earn citizenship? Then we might be thanking them for getting food to our tables instead of deporting them. I’d include them in “Thanks for what you do.”

Law enforcement could still focus on catching the really “bad guys.” We could also work on balancing the national budget, instead of borrowing money for stimulus plans we can’t hope to pay back.

I don’t know who you are. You may be a community leader, a volunteer, a single parent struggling to survive or raise your children, an American worker, in military service, a young person getting an education, a disabled person with special needs, a parent, a veteran, or a senior citizen who has contributed to your country for a lifetime. You’re as valuable as everyone else. Whoever you are, I’d like to say thanks so much for what you do!

Bob Denny is a mental health therapist, and teaches at Florida Gateway College. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome at

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top