On 18 November 1963, US President John F Kennedy performed that oddest of presidential duties – he pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey outside the Oval Office. Less than a week later he was gunned down in Dallas. In his Thanksgiving proclamation, issued before that fatal day, he said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”
JFK of course defeated Richard Nixon in 1960 by the slimmest of margins. Back then 69 million Americans went to the polls and just 12,000 of them determined who became President (according to a 1961 GOP report quoted by Victor Lasky in his book JFK the Man & the Myth).
There are so many sliding doors and ‘what if?’ moments in history, in our lives. If it had rained in key states would Nixon have won? An influential 2007 study found that bad weather depresses voter turnout but favours Republicans as marginalised voters who tend to support Democrats are deterred by inclement conditions.
It is set to be a dry election day in most of the USA so it could bode well for one of the unlikeliest but greatest fundraisers of all time – Joe Biden. And while the rich and famous have supported him, his September haul was mostly a grassroots affair with donations coming from 5.5 million donors with an average contribution of about US$44.
Like all good fundraisers, the presidential candidate took to Twitter to thank his donors. “To every person who chipped in a few dollars last month — thank you. Because of your support, we raised an astounding $383 million. I’m incredibly humbled.”
Will it be enough? We’ll all know by the time you read this magazine.
But like Joe and all the great fundraisers out there, we are humbled by the support we receive. Especially during this tumultuous, troubling and strange year.
We utter the words and hope to live by them. Thank you.