Tom Hanks is the voice we need in these dark times

It’s nearly Thanksgiving: Do we collectively have anything to be thankful for this year?

That’s kind of a tough one.

Sign up for our newsletter!

* indicates required

Well, we haven’t incinerated anyone with a nuclear bomb, and no one here has been lit up, radiation-wise, either.

For all of the kneeling and yelling and heiling, life just seems worse — as opposed to actually being worse — from what I can tell.

And what about those natural disasters? Wind, water, fire, earthquakes — are there any more ways to kill people and destroy property than we’ve experienced this year?

Of course, that list skips the mass shooting option. We’ve certainly had more than our share of those this year, too.

So what exactly do we have to be thankful for?

We could be thankful for each other — that’s actually part of the whole Thanksgiving Day program, being thankful for all of the things we mean to each other.

But if half of us hate the other half, that doesn’t sound like a winning formula for Thursday afternoon fun, does it?

Not knowing where to turn or who to turn to for sage advice, I ran across some words of wisdom from America’s seemingly nicest guy, actor Tom Hanks, who — for all of his wealth and fame now — grew up in a broken family, living in what he says were 10 homes in 10 years during childhood.

Normally, I don’t care what someone in Hollywood has to say about much of anything, but if anyone has the answer to today’s dilemmas, it has to be Tom Hanks.


As a country, Hanks told The New Yorker, “we have always corrected something that’s horrible. World War II was fought by a segregated United States of America, except for a few military units. And immediately after that, it altered.

“But you have to go through things that will alter the consciousness. And normalcy is always being redefined, and you just have to have faith, and you have to have some degree of patience, and you do have to put up with, every now and again, let’s face it, Nazi torch parades surrounding a phantom issue of a statue that was put up in the 1920s.”

America, Hanks says, is a complicated place.

“It’s going to be ugly periodically, but it’s also going to be beautiful periodically.”

And keeping a sense of humor — as opposed to a sense of horror, I suppose — is what Hanks says we need these days,

“It might be the only ammunition that is left in order to bring down tyrants,” he says. “You know what Mark Twain says: ‘Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.’ ”

So smile a bit while you’re digging into your turkey, or tofurkey, this month. This year, in particular, we’ve earned that right.