Editorial: Give thanks, avoid politics

The Detroit News

When Americans sit down at the dinner table to give thanks today, some might be grateful for silence. Thanksgiving conversations this year with family and friends may not be as pleasant as the pumpkin pie.

We have been hearing disturbing stories over the past two weeks about people who are so upset by the recent presidential election that they are boycotting their traditional gatherings because of differences over the outcome.

That is unfortunate, and unhealthy.

Certainly this was an intense and passionate election season. Voters on both sides felt strongly about who they were voting for and voting against.

And a lot of folks are worried that the rhetoric of the campaign will spill over to policy once President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January. They’re blaming those who voted for him, accusing them of endorsing some of Trump’s more unsavory characteristics.

That’s unfair. People voted the way they did for a lot of different reasons.

Politics should not be taken so personally that it breaks up families and destroys longtime, precious friendships. Set aside the resentment today and be grateful for what those people have meant in our lives over the long haul.

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection on the blessings in our life, and certainly family and friends are at the top of the list.

You may be disappointed in the way loved ones voted, and they may be just as distressed at how you cast your ballot. Let it go.

If we find solace only in those who share our political views, then we risk shutting ourselves off from those who bring many other wonderful attributes to a relationship. We also risk becoming so smug and confident in our own views that we fail to consider other opinions that may be enlightening.

Thanksgiving teaches a welcome lesson to a country polarized by presidential politics.

The holiday commemorates a simple meal shared by Puritan immigrants and natives. It is about reconciliation, not division.

It is also about gratitude for survival. Those first settlers faced a devastating winter in America, and it took Providence and their own fierce will to get through it.

But they did survive, and we will, too. We always have. That’s a fact we should never lose sight of.

We have allowed ourselves to become too embittered by this election. Let’s pause today to find perspective.

And let’s never forget those men and women who aren’t with their families, but in hot spots throughout the world defending our nation and our right to express our opinions so adamantly.

Let’s make this Thanksgiving a politics-free day. Enjoy the turkey or the tofu, and, of course, the football.

And be thankful that we still have family and friends to fight with.