Leave politics off the dinner table at Thanksgiving 2013

Debating Obamacare on Thanksgiving? You might need to get a life. Photo: Enjoy this Thanksgiving and skip political arguments. (AP file photo)

HONOLULU, November 23, 2013 – Thanksgiving is a time for enjoying family, friends and good food. Some are preparing in advance by cleaning their houses this weekend and shopping early, but others are practicing elaborate debate strategies to discuss Obamacare at the Thanksgiving table. The Huffington Post even published a guide entitled “Here’s Every Argument You’ll Need To Win Your Obamacare Debate This Thanksgiving” as a talking paper for dealing with family members.

Politics is all about injecting contentiousness into private affairs. This year, Americans should call a political cease-fire at the Thanksgiving table and pause to celebrate life’s blessings together.

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There are millions of people this year who do not have the privilege of indulging themselves in epicurean revelry or showing off 80-inch flat screen televisions and sports games on XboxOne. Some are homeless, others cannot afford food, and even more are struggling with the loss of a family member.

America has come a very long way since the first Thanksgiving of 1621, both in triumph and tragedy. The last few years alone have seen terrible natural disasters, economic upheaval, war, urban violence and other challenges which have broken the hearts of so many people. Just having the courage to stand tall when one’s life is falling apart and when bad reports abound is something that many Americans must summon on a daily basis.

America needs a moment to stop and just celebrate making it this far. Politics will always have arguments but children will not always have their parents, families will not always have homes and hungry stomachs will not always have food. Rather than preparing debate, Americans should prepare humility, compassion and gratefulness for one another.

President Bill Clinton said it best while he was in office: “we have lived through times of war and peace, years of poverty and plenty, and seasons of social and political upheaval that have shaped and forever changed our national character and experience. As we gather around our Thanksgiving tables again this year, it is a fitting time to reflect on how the events of our rich history have affected those we care about and those who came before us. As we acknowledge the past, we do so knowing that the individual blessings for which we give thanks may have changed, but our gratitude to God and our commitment to our fellow Americans remain constant.”

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This Thanksgiving 2013, thank your family and friends and tell them you love them. Leave politics off the dinner table.


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Danny de Gracia

Dr. Danny de Gracia is a political scientist and a former senior adviser to the Human Services and International Affairs committees at the Hawaii State Legislature. From 2011-2013 he served as an elected municipal board member in Waipahu. As an expert in international relations theory, military policy, political psychology and economics, Danny has advised numerous policymakers and elected officials and his opinions have been featured worldwide. Now working on his first novel, Danny resides on the island of Oahu.

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