As we head into Thanksgiving this week, the country is more divided than it has been in recent memory. Americans are split on impeachment, and civil discourse seems to of gone to the wayside.
The current political environment may make some people weary of going home and sitting at the same table as their gun-toting uncle, or their pro-choice sister. Perhaps you don’t even have much of a family to go home to at all.
All of these things are okay. In fact, we should embrace them. After all, Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863, in the midst of the bloodiest, most divisive time in our nation's history, the American Civil War.
In an 1863 proclamation Lincoln called on Americans “In every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving.” Lincoln's word choices here are important. Although the country was at war with itself, he called for unity “in every part of the United States."
In contemporary times we are constantly flooded with news, swaying us to pick a side or have an opinion as if we are the human pawns on a country-sized chess board. Yes, opinions are good, but are they even our own or are we just parroting Fox News and CNN? Is it really worth straining a relationship with a family member or friend over politics?
In my opinion, the answer is no. Thanksgiving was founded on unifying our nation and today that ideal is more important than ever.
But how do we unite for a day when it seems our country is being torn apart at the seams? Simple: We remember that we are all human. We all deal with similar experiences and emotions on a daily basis.
It seems that we have spent so much time attacking each other and focusing on our differences over the last four years that we have forgotten how much we truly have in common.
So I challenge you, yes you, to put politics aside and find common ground with your conservative uncle and your liberal sister. On the most basic human-level you will have something in common. Everyone is stressed about work. Everyone is worried about their health. Maybe you both love that new band on the radio. Whatever it is, I promise that there is a human connection and common ground to be found between any two family members.
After all we are not that different, in fact we’re family.
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