The editorial board, which serves as the institutional voice of Philadelphia Media Network, is usually focused on pointing out things that need fixing, whether in the city, state, or society at large. But once in a while, we like to celebrate the positive, highlight things that are working, and single out people or events that deserve applause. This Thanksgiving, these are some of the things for which we are grateful:
Gritty. Gritty is the mascot we didn't know we needed until he appeared in all his hairy orange glory. In a short time, the Flyers mascot has gone from an object of ridicule to the object of our affection. Whoever came up with his name — one that perfectly embodies Philadelphia — deserves a raise.
Voters. The midterm elections saw great turnout, here in Pennsylvania and around the country. With 49 percent of those eligible voting, it was the highest rate in decades.
Voters, part 2. Pennsylvania voters sent four women to Congress, a long overdue challenge to the all-male club that has prevailed for too long. (Special thanks to the state Supreme Court, which ruled on a redistricting map that broke another bad habit of gerrymandering.)
Gun laws. In September, the Pennsylvania legislature broke the gun lobby's choke hold and passed a law to keep guns away from violent domestic abusers. In a year that has seen almost one mass shooting every day (according to the Gun Violence Archive), there's more to do, but this was a good first step.
Philanthropy. We're grateful to billionaires who use their wealth to help others, such as Michael Bloomberg's recent $1.8 billion donation to Johns Hopkins — and Gerry Lenfest's donations across the city.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro. He released a sweeping grand jury report saying that more than 300 Catholic priests abused more than 1,000 victims across Pennsylvania and continues to push against the church's decades-long cover-up of the problem. While the legislature has yet to change state laws ending Pennsylvania's statutes of limitations, the debate is raging and harder to ignore.
District Attorney Larry Krasner's ponytail. His campaign to redefine the role of a prosecutor has put Philly in the national spotlight for criminal justice reform. The New Yorker's claim that Krasner wore a "long ponytail" until he was 40 prompted fact-checking from Inquirer reporters who found there's no photographic evidence of this wilder past hairdo. We're grateful that no photos of Krasner with a rattail have emerged.
A free press. We are grateful for the relentless reporting of our colleagues in the city and around the world to continue to shine light on truth. Exposing the violence of counselors toward teenagers in Glen Mills and a renowned chess teacher accused of sexually abusing pupils, and continuing to shed light on the environmental hazards in the city are some of the local stories that have made an impact — and that make us especially grateful for the First Amendment and a vigorous free press.