Yes, you read that headline right coming from a political science major. I love talking politics as much as the next person; it’s been that way since I was probably 8, and I intend to have a career revolving around discussing, debating and promoting political involvement.
But despite all that, I’ll be the first to say, let’s table the political and religious talk for another time.
It’s the age-old joke you hear around the holidays; that Uncle Joe and Aunt Karen are going to get into a heated argument over who was a better leader, Obama or Trump, over Thanksgiving dinner, while Cousin Tim is going to try to divert the conversation in an entirely new direction.
The sad thing is that, for many American families, it’s not a joke.
Given the contentious and divisive times we’re living in, it’s not far-fetched to believe that when families gather from all around and from many different backgrounds, politics and religion will sneak their way into the dinner.
But the reality is, the holidays are supposed to be a uniting and loving time, and not the time to pull the gloves off and go at it.
The Thanksgiving dinner should be a time to discuss what’s been going on in everyone’s lives: how work is going, what the kids are up to these days, what great accomplishments or exciting adventures has everyone been involved with since everyone was last together?
It shouldn’t be a time to debate whether Donald Trump has been a good president, whether Pete Buttigieg or Elizabeth Warren is better or whether the boomers are responsible for all the wrongs in our world.
It shouldn’t be a time to discuss when was the last time you went to church, whether religion should be taught in public schools or even what your personal beliefs are.
Thanksgiving has been the great unification holiday in America for generations and has the potential to elevate its status now more than ever.
When I go to visit my family, we stay away from the topics unless someone asks how my internship is going, or generally about any political involvement I’ve had recently, but that’s where it stops–just asking, nothing more.
Aside from that, we eat, talk and laugh, and then head into the living room to watch the Detroit Lions get their yearly butt-whooping on national television.
It’s nothing too special or spectacular, but it’s calm, loving and without the negative aspects of contemporary society, the way Thanksgiving dinner should be.
Be thankful for what you have, enjoy the feast and live in the moment.