Let us not be divided this Thanksgiving

Nov 27, 2019

Everyone wants to talk about politics.

Even when we are working on human interest features that have nothing to do with Washington or Augusta, we find ourselves talking about President Donald Trump, the impeachment proceedings, foreign policy, how we think our new Gov. Janet Mills is doing, whether or not it’s OK to harass Sen. Susan Collins at the airport.

Sometimes the people we go to interview start it. Sometimes, we have to admit, we do.

If you like to scroll down through the never-ending feed from Facebook or Twitter or the stuff the cool kids use, you are bombarded with opinions on politics, many of them shrill and outraged.

“I’m OK, You’re OK,” is out. “Either you’re with us or against us,” is in.

The stakes are high. The freedoms we enjoy and the system of government we take for granted in this country are vulnerable to manipulation. Both sides of the political fence feel they have a lot to lose in the coming election.

What could be more important than the political future of the United States?

We would argue, for one day, Thursday, Nov. 28, that your family should be more important.

Since 2016 we have endured scorched earth political arguments in the home, the workplace, the classroom, the church and around the table. We have unfriended and unfollowed those who outrage us. We have been outraged altogether too much.

Let’s set it all aside for one day and be thankful. Let’s be mindful that the argument in the kitchen and dining room will not change the direction of the wheels presently turning.

Instead of politics, one can count the things to be grateful for and remember other times spent with the family members gathered around the table and those we miss who could not be there.

It is a fact that the calories have been removed from the food at your table, so you can break bread without guilt. This food will be good for your soul. It is also a fact that pumpkin pie tastes better during a calm phase in the conversation than it does during heated debate.

Harvard Medical School has published the somewhat obvious fact that expressing thankfulness can make you happier and healthier.

The article in Harvard Health Publishing offered the following scientific data:

“Two psychologists …asked all participants [in a study] to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations… After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.”

Writing for Forbes, psychotherapist and author Amy Morin talked about the seven benefits she has found to feelings of gratitude.

1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.

2. Gratitude improves physical health.

“Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences,” she wrote.

3. Gratitude improves psychological health. It reduces depression.

4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. That might make for a more civil political discussion over the drumsticks.

5. Grateful people sleep better.

6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.

7. Gratitude increases mental strength. “For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma.”

It was with great wisdom that President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday in 1863, and it could not have been done during a more divisive time in our nation’s history.

This is a positive holiday and it serves a purpose in our lives. It’s important to remember that our relationships with those we love are more important to us than winning an argument, so remain calm, stay civil and above all, be thankful.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Nov 27, 2019 13:11

It is not a choice when the other party sees us as a an anathema. :(

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