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Editorial: Give thanks out loud

Thanksgiving Day is upon us. Traditions and bountiful feasts aside, Americans dedicate this day to thanking God for what is good here.

We place prominently on that long list our guaranteed freedoms — especially this year the freedom of speech, including the freedom to hold tough conversations publicly.

Consider recent weeks' multitudinous headlines and social media posts about sexual harassment allegations involving everyone from icons to national leaders and even regional ones. No one really wants to talk about this, yet we're thankful that the massive outpouring of women's stories may at last bring a stop to something that the powerful in society ignored and condoned.

We also appreciate how local citizens continue to speak up in our communities. By raising their voices, they help to improve government.

When people champion a civic project, challenge a proposal or raise a new idea, they are exercising an ability to improve where and how they live — something people in most nations only dream of doing.

Red Wing residents living protected lives here through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are speaking out about how this is the only home they know. They didn't ask to come here as young children, but as productive adults they wish to stay.

Across the river, residents recently convinced the Ellsworth School Board to reconsider demolishing Prairieview Elementary School. That fight is far from over, but citizens on both sides of the issue should appreciate that our free, representative system of government is working thanks to citizen involvement.

Also in Pierce County, if it weren't for freedom of speech and open records, Bay City folks and those beyond might never have heard of an ongoing eminent domain land dispute between village citizen David Meixner and the Village Board that has not only spurred legislation and court action, but people to become informed on what their local governments are up to.

Yes, we are thankful for free speech.

As you gather around the table, give thanks for all that's good. Be thankful, too, that we have the right to exercise our freedoms and, in so doing, strive to make things better.

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