I’m sure you’ve seen accounts of people canceling their family Thanksgiving—or at least, thinking about it. While family gatherings can sometimes include tension and conflicts, it’s particularly hard for divided families and friends who found themselves on opposite sides of our acrimonious and divisive election.
So the question now is how can we celebrate one another and begin anew the process of living respectfully with our differences, rather than fearing them? In addition to simply making the commitment, this Thanksgiving you can:
- Share The Golden Rule: Begin dinner with the Golden Rule. It is a universal tenet shared by all traditions. Consider printing it, passing it around, and letting each guest read the words of respect and caring for others that come from so many different beliefs. It can be a moment of sharing and a reminder that can help set the tone for the evening and lay the foundation for healthy conversation.
- Beware of Words that Inflame: Watch out for the words that inflame. Want to talk about Muslims? Immigrants? Jewish people? Christians? Evangelicals? Women? Race? Sexual orientation? Talk about a person but not “them.” Stay away from words like “all,” “none,” “always,” and “never.” And don’t say, “those people.”
- Listen: My mother used to say I had two ears and one mouth for a reason. Take time to listen fully before responding. Resources, like this New York Times article, are sprouting up everywhere, reminding us that we can – and should – engage in civil, rational, fact-based discourse. What better time than Thanksgiving?
We wish you a meaningful holiday and invite you to use this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to all people and all Americans.
Joyce S. Dubensky,