Unless you’re a white supremacist, 2016 has been an awful year. From the North Dakota Pipeline to the ever-present deaths of people of color at the hands of the police. From electing an authoritarian sociopath to the presidency to losing scores of our musical and cultural heroes. This is the worst year I can remember.
Hell, even the cops are having a horrible one, considering the uptick of violence against them.
There’s been no shortage of sad and mournful words written this year, and it’s been a hell of a thing seeing even my own writing take a turn toward darkness. So today, for Thanksgiving, I figured I’d do something different. I want to write about the things for which I’m thankful.
I’m thankful for my family and friends for loving and supporting me. I’m a dreamer, an idealist and not always practical. I’ve chosen an unconventional life path and, instead of questioning why I’m doing it, they’ve always cheered me on.
I’m thankful for everyone who is, or has been, part of the Broke-Ass Stuart media brand (or whatever the hell it is). Together, we’ve built something that is both a place for humor and an opportunity to amplify voices that don’t always get heard.
I’m thankful for all the people who read this column and visit my website, especially those of you that let me know so. Whether stopping me on the street and saying hello or dropping me an email, the fact that the things I create move you enough to do so is really gratifying. Knowing my words make you feel things is exactly why I do this. Plus, I still think it’s the coolest thing ever that strangers want to take selfies with me!
I’m thankful for all my haters, and I don’t mean that in a glib, bumper sticker kind of way. I’m glad that the things I write make people emote enough that they feel the desire to say incredibly horrific things to me on the internet. If you don’t have detractors and naysayers, it means nobody is paying attention to what you’re saying. Plus, I even occasionally learn something from them.
Side note: Please don’t take this as encouragement to say even meaner things more often.
I’m thankful for all the activists and organizers working their asses off to make the world a better place. As I’ve become more and more involved over the past few years, I’m continually inspired by the people doing the hard work. Activism almost always means putting your community’s needs ahead of your own. Seeing the things people sacrifice in the name of the greater good makes me want to be a better person. I’m also heartened by the fact that this Trump presidency will create some of the fiercest and most badass activists around.
And finally, I’m thankful for San Francisco. The City is and always will be one of the great loves of my life — even if in recent years it has broken my heart in more ways than I’d like to admit. San Francisco’s openness and tolerance has allowed me to grow into the person and the artist that I am, and without that I’d be nothing.
In times like these, when forces of hate and bigotry are slithering out from under rocks and rearing their ugly heads, it’s been amazing seeing San Franciscans come together under banners of love, justice, equality and equity. In the darkness ahead of us, knowing that the Bay Area will continue to be a beacon of light gives me hope that we will get through this madness together.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the San Francisco Examiner.