Thanksgiving is a time when families and friends come together and give thanks. The tradition dates back to 1621 when the new settlers from England and the Native Americans came together to give thanks for the first harvest in the New World. Historical records are sketchy, but from the documented evidence we do have a general idea about the first Thanksgiving.
The first Thanksgiving was a moment when two totally different groups came together to celebrate. You and I go to the store when we need to get groceries, but the early settlers depended on a good harvest to survive before winter set in. A good harvest meant the difference between living and dying. In 1621, there was reason to celebrate a hearty harvest. And so the new settlers and the Native Americans came together after both groups had learned from each other.
It is Thanksgiving 2019, and we are a more divided America than at any other time in modern political times. We are divided by politics, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation and countless other groups; and we seem to be forgetting that we should all be Americans first.
Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends can easily be marred by a comment about politics. It is difficult not to talk about politics because we are all so invested in the political turmoil on a daily basis. It is a big part of who we are as individuals and as a nation.
You can set up rules so that your Thanksgiving feast is a “no-politics zone,” but when the turkey is placed on the table and meat preferences are vocalized, as soon as someone says, “I like the right wing!” - politics is introduced into the conversation. The cost of the turkey that year could lead to a discussion about the economy.
And there is always that uncle, grandfather, father, brother, sister or aunt who doesn’t want to just talk politics - they want to tell you what you should think and believe. Avoiding talking about politics at a Thanksgiving gathers is a challenge.
When we look back on what we know about that first Thanksgiving in November of 1621 and we think about how different the New Settlers and the Native Americans were, it is admirable that they actually came together and bonded over the idea of giving thanks. Both groups looked differently from each other, they had totally different customs and backgrounds and their perspectives on life were foreign to each other, but they came together and gave thanks.
When I think about how different the new settlers and the Native Americans were and how they put their differences aside and came together to give thanks, which established the first Thanksgiving, I can’t help but think that Republicans and Democrats can come together in 2019 and put their differences aside and give thanks for all we should be grateful for as Americans.