Have a Happy, Politics-Free Thanksgiving

Time to Embrace the Spirit of Thanksgiving

The presidential election revealed a massive split in our country, dividing over 247 million of Americans along economic, ethnic, educational, religious, occupational, cultural, and regional lines (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). And what we do not understand, often leads to hate and fear. Too often during the campaign we focused on our differences and forgot what we once respected about our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even family members. 

But, the topics facing our nation are complex and there really isn’t just one right or wrong answer to the issues debated during the campaign. If we really listen to family and friends with differing opinions, we will realize we actually have more in common than not.

As psychologist Abraham Maslow explains in Problems of Power in American Democracy we all seek food and shelter, safety, love, community, and meaning in this beautiful country we call home. In other words, all Americans have the same basic needs, wants, and dreams for their families and children.

I have friends boycotting Thanksgiving with their families because of the divisive emotions the election exposed. That’s insane! Family and friends can’t leave politics behind for the health of the relationships so that they can break bread together for just few hours?

My hope is that we all remember how much we have to be thankful for this holiday season. Besides our many individual blessings, we should be grateful to live in this country. We have the freedom of speech, to protest, and to vote. Even when we feel defeated, we shouldn’t forget we have more power and privilege than many do worldwide.

Instead of avoiding friends and family who have differing political views for the holidays, we must remember what binds us. Instead of discussing what divides us, don’t allow the topic of politics at the dinner table, if that is what is needed to keep the peace during this Thanksgiving holiday.

Wishing you All a Happy (politics-free) Thanksgiving!

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