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Hugs, a booming economy, and help from neighbors should make Wisconsin grateful

Hugs are definitely back this Thanksgiving. Such are warm handshakes. Most people seem content with more human connection – if they don’t crave it.

That’s as good a sign as any that the pandemic, official or not, is over.

Our children and grandchildren are at school, mostly without masks. They learn and socialize, with the latest test scores remaining stable across Wisconsin. If you are reading this, you have survived the worst public health scourge in a century.

Voters have just elected local, state and congressional leaders in fair, high-turnout elections. Many different candidates have claimed victory, and their opponents have graciously acknowledged defeat. Our democracy is still strong, and the vast majority of Americans have confidence in the accuracy of the counts.

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We owe so much today.

Sure, COVID and especially the flu are spreading this fall. We don’t want to gloss over the importance of life-saving vaccines to protect ourselves and our loved ones, especially the elderly.

But isn’t it great to be able to do all the things we love again, when and where we want to do them?

Wisconsin’s economy — especially in the Madison area — is booming, and pretty much anyone who wants a job can find one. Inflation is still high. But wages and opportunities are strong.

Our community is generous. More than 20,000 individuals and 500 companies are expected to donate more than $18 million to the century-old United Way of Dane County this year. More than 3,000 State Journal readers and 500 volunteers will ensure that around 7,000 toys are distributed to more than 2,500 families through the 100-plus-year-old Empty Stocking Club this Christmas.

Thank you for your generosity.

Wisconsin and Madison abound with natural beauty, including Madison’s lakes and isthmus. This is what drives our community to redesign the downtown Lake Monona shoreline—so more people can enjoy our waterways and be willing to protect them.

More and more of our elected officials, farmers, utilities, neighbors and especially young people are getting involved to address the challenge of climate change.

The badgers and the packers? Let’s not go there even though the Wisconsin volleyball team is fighting for a national title and the cross country teams just landed close to the top. And what about those bucks?

Our city and state should definitely be thankful for UW-Madison, UW System, private college and trade school students throughout Wisconsin who are working hard to be our future leaders. The next generation renews our enthusiasm and optimism.

Madison is spoiled for great food, beer and farmers markets. And we do more to ensure everyone feels welcome and has a fair chance at greater prosperity and happiness.

We’ve come this far, but we still respect the past, which is important. The discovery of two canoes, dated 1,200 and 3,000 years old, in the Lakes of Madison in the last two years helps us to connect, learn and appreciate the original people who called Wisconsin home.

We are grateful that their innovation and resilience have led to today’s world.

Maybe in a few thousand years, archaeologists will find an ancient paddle board buried somewhere in Madison with a Clean Lakes Alliance sticker and an iPhone nearby — all miraculously preserved. Here’s what they should conclude: We’re resourceful and happy people who tried hard to have fun while leaving them a better world.

Our best days are yet to come.

Geske, a former Supreme Court Justice, introduces herself as one of the new members of the Wisconsin State Journal’s community editorial board

Meet the newest addition to the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board

Schmitz, the downtown Madison dynamo whose great-grandfather opened a store on Capitol Square in 1898, introduces himself as one of the Wisconsin State Journal’s new communities

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