Last week’s field hearing of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands in Sacramento demonstrated all that is wrong with public discourse in America. Rather than being a genuine fact-finding, problem-solving venture, it proved to be nothing more than political theater.
Republicans control the subcommittee, and they stacked the witness list with people and groups whose positions reflect their own legislative goals. Only one panelist represented a divergent viewpoint — and the highly partisan audience booed him. Even so, just two of the subcommittee’s 13 Republican members bothered to show for the hearing, and none of the Democratic members attended. Before you think we’re bashing Republicans, let us say that this is par for the course; had Democrats controlled the committee, the proceeding would have erred in the other direction.
Today is World Gratitude Day, a tradition started in 1977 by the United Nations Meditation Group. Virtually all faith traditions and many philosophers have long recognized and encouraged thanksgiving. Now, modern science has joined the conversation with insights of its own.
In one of the first gratitude studies, researchers found that those who kept a gratitude journal enjoyed better health and greater happiness than those who compiled a list of complaints or who recorded neutral life events.