89 things to hold onto after the election (16 of which actually matter for democracy).

After this election, there is fear, anxiety, and disappointment felt all across our country. So here's a list of things — from silly to serious to sacred — that are all sources of positivity the American government can't take away.

1. The freedom to seek and acquire information.

2. Running barefoot through grass.

3. Parallel parking on the first try.


4. Knowing that otters hold hands when they fall asleep so they don’t float away from each other.

5. Faith in the goodness of other people.

6. Getting the triple-word and triple-letter score.

7. The freedom to practice your religion.

8. When you trip and think “no one saw that,” but then you make eye contact and laugh with the one stranger who did, in fact, see that.

9. Global inspiration Malala Yousafzai.

10. Dogs.

11. Naps. Most especially naps on a bed where the sun is shining through the window and warming everything up.

12. Really fast, reliable Wi-Fi.

13. Libraries.

14. Knowing people are out there who really do dedicate their whole lives and careers to helping people.

15. Being buried under lots of blankets with the window open.

16. Bonfires, especially with s’mores and friends and maybe a crunchy leaf pile or two.

17. The feeling you get when you pull on your jeans and they fit exactly right.

18. The right to assemble.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Nass.

19. That “yes!” feeling when you get to your subway platform and the train is waiting for you.

20. When a cat does that mushing-its-head-onto-yours thing.

21. The first day of fall jacket weather.

22. The right to teach others about what’s important to you.

23. When your kids surprise you with something nice all by themselves.

24. Going to a movie alone. (And getting the big popcorn.)

25. Surprise military homecoming videos, especially ones involving dogs.

26. Baking your own bread and smelling it all through the house.

27. Making a baby laugh.

28. Mac ‘n‘ cheese.

Just stare at the photo and breathe. Image via iStock.

29. The first time you successfully communicate with a native speaker of a language you’ve been trying really hard to learn.

30. Laughing so hard that you’re out of breath.

31. Popping bubble wrap.

32. Harry Potter.

33. When someone asks if you and your best friend are brothers/sisters because the two of you are so in sync.

34. Watching a child learn to play an instrument.

35. Seeing a really cool animal in the wild.

36. The ability of every law-abiding American citizen to run for public office and effect change.

37. Your first windows-down car ride of the season after a long, hard winter.

38. When you’re first dating and your hand brushes against theirs and you feel like your heart might explode.

39. The Budweiser Clydesdales.

Sure, the middle of the Super Bowl seems like a great time for a nice cry. GIF via Budweiser.

40. A dollar slice and an ice-cold soda.

41. The hopeful feeling of meeting a really self-assured young girl.

42. Making art, even when you’re not very good at it.

43. The satisfaction that all people get when things fit perfectly into other things.

44. Rainbows. (Related: double rainbows.)

45. The joy in someone you love’s voice when they call to let you know they finally achieved something they’ve been working toward for a really long time.

46. When you’re reading a book and you find the previous reader’s notes in the margins.

47. Seeing the first sprouts of something you planted and watered and nurtured starting to grow.

48. When you get that first text and realize that they might just be crushin’ on you back.

49. Falling asleep in a freshly made bed.

50. The right to learn.

51. National treasure Lin-Manuel Miranda.

52. New school supplies.

53. This GIF:

Brushy, brushy!

54. The smell of new books. And old books. Let's just say books.

55. Chocolate chip cookies, especially warm ones that fall apart when you eat them.

56. Diving for pennies in a pool.

57. Sitting quietly in a room with all the people you love, all doing your own thing, existing together.

58. Hot coffee.

59. Falling in love.

60. Finding money in your pocket.

61. Catching a whiff of something that brings back a memory you’d forgotten.

62. Being a little bit drunk in the girls’ bathroom and making friends with really nice strangers.

63. Running into your childhood teacher after you’re all grown up.

64. Jewel of our nation Michelle Obama.

She isn't actually going to leave the country, guys. Image via Lawrence Jackson/The White House.

65. The ability to be silly, even when things are looking bleak.

66. When you get your liquid eyeliner cat-eye perfect on the first try.

67. The ability to form and participate in supportive communities.

68. When a stand-up comedian perfectly explains the thought you’ve had rattling around in your head for years.

69. When you get a haircut and they massage your head a little bit while they wash your hair.

70. Tom Hanks in "Big." Also, Tom Hanks in "Toy Story." Actually, just Tom Hanks.

71. The right to vote in elections.

72. Weirdly inspirational commercials that make you cry.

73. Encouraging notes from strangers in books or in happy graffiti.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

74. The right to organize and to support organizations like Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, or the ACLU.

75. Cuddling up inside while it thunderstorms outside your window.

76. A really well-made gin and tonic.

77. Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, and John Oliver.

78. The rush of sneaky enthusiasm you have for winning a board game.

79. The right to free speech.

80. Girl Scout cookie season.

81. When the perfect bop-along song comes on in the grocery store and you’re in the mood to dance down the freezer aisle.

82. The ability to laugh in the face of adversity.

"I would say laughter is the best medicine. But it's more than that. It's an entire regime of antibiotics and steroids." — Stephen Colbert

83. The kindness of strangers.

84. Giving the perfect Christmas gift.

85. Grandmas on Facebook.

86. Nailing a song when you sing karaoke.

87. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing something difficult.

88. When you start crying a little, so then your friend starts crying, and then you laugh because you feel silly for crying, so your friend starts laughing, and you both end up cracking up and covered in tears.

89. Hope for a better world tomorrow.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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