Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for Nov. 18, 2020

Thankful for Hope

For many Americans, Thanksgiving conjures up an image reminiscent of Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting, Freedom from Want. In Rockwell’s work, a multigenerational family surrounds a dinner table, smiling, laughing and eagerly awaiting the start of the meal. A grandmother carries in a large, roasted turkey, as her husband stands by, ready to carve it. It’s a classic American scene, idyllic and full of togetherness.

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving this year may not look much like Rockwell’s painting. Many Americans may decide to forgo the traditional, large family gatherings and instead opt for smaller ones. Some may be wearing masks as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. Others may decide to celebrate at home with only their immediate household or join others virtually rather than in person. Rockwell once said, “I paint life as I would like it to be.” I’m sure many of us would like life to be like Rockwell’s painting right about now.

But not all hope is lost. Despite the hardship the past year has brought, I believe there are still reasons to be thankful this holiday season. Over the past few weeks, there has been promising news about the effectiveness of not one, but two, COVID-19 vaccines. Even better, we may start to see initial vaccine distribution later this year if things continue to go well. All of this should inspire some hope and optimism for the future, which we need now more than ever.

We should also be a little extra thankful for the people we do get to spend this Thanksgiving with. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that time spent with our loved ones is precious. It’s been hard not seeing certain family and friends for days, weeks or even months. While we’re all trying to maintain social distancing right now, I hope after this is all over, we all hold our loved ones a little closer and appreciate them a little more than we did a few short months ago.

We’ve been through a lot over the past year, but I remain hopeful about the future. I believe we’re going to get through this pandemic, and we’re going to get through it together. No matter what your holiday plans are, I wish you and your family a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at