Gov. Malloy’s 2016 Thanksgiving message

Governor Dannel P. Malloy shared the following Thanksgiving message with the residents of Connecticut:

In October of 1863, only a few short months removed from the decisive yet costly Battle of Gettysburg – and still more than a year away from an end to the Civil War – President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. While it had been previously celebrated by states and local communities, it was Lincoln that used Thanksgiving as a national unifying force. He did it, perhaps, when our country needed it most – when many Americans were surely feeling apprehensive about what lay ahead; not just for their nation, but for their families and their friends.

And now, every year on Thanksgiving Day, across Connecticut and throughout the United States, families and friends gather to share a meal, enjoy one another’s company, and give thanks. It was then and remains now a time of appreciation for the joy, beauty, and love that fill our daily lives. It is also a reflection on who we are as a nation, and where we are going. Dinner tables hum with pleasantries and laughter but also, most appropriately for this great country, passionate discussion and debate.

Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of the holiday season. It evokes a feeling of being on the cusp of change – that new beginnings lie just over the horizon. Surely, regardless of any of our political beliefs, there can be no doubt that we are at a seminal moment in the trajectory of our state and nation. We face many important and difficult decisions in the coming year.

On the heels of one of the most contentious elections in modern times, as a state and as a nation we must now ensure that we do not allow either vexing apathy or insidious fear to erode who we are as a people; we must preserve the goodwill and good intentions that form the core tenets of our union. We must remember who we are, and what we believe.

We believe in fairness. Everyone, regardless of the life circumstances into which they are born, deserves a quality education and the expectation that, if they are willing to put in a hard day’s work, a job will be available to them. That’s why we should continue to support funding for students of all ages, support improvements in our infrastructure, and support investments in Connecticut employers, especially small businesses.

We believe in diversity and inclusivity – of culture, creed, and thought. No matter the changing nature of global politics or economy, we can never forget that we are first and foremost a nation of immigrants. We should continue to be a refuge to families fleeing the horrors of war-torn countries, and we should continue to promote compassion and empathy in all levels of government.

We believe in compassion and second chances. In order to build a fairer world, we can continue to build a fairer justice system. In Connecticut, we’ve begun making necessary changes to reduce crime and incarceration rates, while saving taxpayer dollars. This is a bipartisan conversation nationally, and I hope it will continue to be one here at home.

We believe our democracy is more important than our political parties. While we can fight vigorously during campaigns, we believe firmly in the peaceful transition of power. After an election, we should choose to work together in government – to build ourselves up as one nation, rather than tear each other down as individuals.

And we believe that, even when we make progress, our work is never complete. Too many people, whether historically marginalized or struggling economically, feel as though they are not being heard. They feel as though their government does not represent them, and that they don’t have access to the American Dream. We should change this – and change begins with listening.

In order to build a fairer and more just society, we must continue to be open to the ideas and perspectives of all peoples; of all different races, religions, genders, and political parties. We should draw on the strength of everyone, that we may build a better and more enduring society. In the spirit of Lincoln, demonstrated in his Gettysburg Address, together we can ensure “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

This Thanksgiving, I will endeavor to listen more, to help ensure that all voices are being heard equally, and stand together with all my Connecticut brothers and sisters. I will continue to show gratitude to my wonderful family and friends, to the great people of this state, and to the citizens who devote their lives to serving and protecting us.

I wish you and your families a very special holiday full of warmth, understanding, kindness, and togetherness.