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  • Writer's pictureDan FitzPatrick

One Heck of a Thanksgiving

November 11, 2016

My wife and I are blessed with having a very large extended family. With that comes considerable diversity of interests and opinions. The recent election provided such grist for the opinion mill that one relative commented: “It’s going to be a heck of a Thanksgiving!”

And it can be, if we let it.

This campaign season was especially ugly, with much exaggeration on both sides to make or score a point. And while the election is now over, some continue to mine that rhetoric to promote fear, uncertainty and divisiveness. But here is the (very) good news: this country is bigger than any one person or party, and the fundamental nature of the American people has not changed.

We are a representative democracy. Our participatory form of government is not limited to first Tuesdays in November. We are all free to communicate our views, concerns and requests to our elected representatives, with the expectation that they listen carefully to the voice of their constituents. That expectation may in fact be the biggest takeaway from the recent election.

And setting aside the nastiness that infected our national dialogue in the heat of a historically consequential election (how in the world did we get to the place where it is deemed acceptable to respond to honest differences of opinion with slurs and allegations of various “isms”?), most Americans are naturally good, reasonable, caring, generous, respectful, decent people who want their government to work for them in promoting a better world for themselves and their families. With time, this should become obvious again.

So this Thanksgiving, let’s focus on our blessings, not our challenges. Our collective treasure lies in what unites us. If we spend our time exploring that, then it will in fact be one heck of a Thanksgiving.

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