This weekend, Saturday Night Live did a sketch to show what happens to an arguing family when Adele’s “Hello” is played (obviously, they start lip syncing—I mean, what else does one do when they hear that song?). I saw the link to the video on Facebook with a caption reading “SNL has the perfect answer for how to silence the crazy right-wing talk at Thanksgiving.” Naturally, this prompted a sea of angry responses about “crazy left-wing talk,” and how some people were just going to not go home so they don’t have to deal with it, and how some people must be crazy because they don’t know any “crazy” left/right wingers, blah, blah, blah.
I hate politics. I am well aware that many people would consider it naïve to say such a thing, but it’s the truth. I still vote and am grateful to live in a country where I can. I am grateful for the amazing freedoms we have in the U.S. that are so ingrained that we take them for granted—education, speech, etc. But I feel greed and arrogance are at the heart of the majority of today’s politicians, and I have a hard time standing behind that on either side.
This, however, is not about politics, per se, it is about the judgmental behaviors that politics seems to ignite in the hearts of otherwise good people. Pick a side—liberal or conservative—and they have one main thing in common- they are judging people who don’t agree with their beliefs. This judgment is exceptionally harmful right now, when terrorists are threatening the ideology of everything we believe in, or don’t, for that matter. Focusing on hating each other is the complete opposite of what we should be doing right now. The true enemies are terrorists, who I’m sure are overjoyed that we spend so much time and energy anti-each other in this “don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain” type of deflection. It takes the heat off of them when we’re so intent at being angry at each other. Hate of any kind isn’t right, and we need to be sticking together and fighting for what is right, especially now.
At the heart of America is that people have the inevitable right to believe what they want to believe. You don’t have to share the beliefs, but you should respect the right for others to believe what they want, even when you don’t agree. So the posts about annoying relatives at Thanksgiving who want to talk “crazy” politics may be real, but it’s really sad. I understand that there are annoying relatives. Really… Like totally understand. And know that I am not referring to relatives who are in any way abusive, mean, or hurtful. I’m referring to the seemingly “normal” (which no family is) family members who are different from us in beliefs, fashion choices, music likes, religions or lack thereof, food choices, sexual orientation, etc, with which my Thanksgiving day will be bursting!
The hypocrisy of Thanksgiving is that many of us preach that we need to accept people different from us; but apparently that doesn’t include family members. We’re arguing for bringing in refugees, but not sitting together with family for a few hours. Or on the flip side of that, we’re arguing to keep refugees out but are asking for God’s blessings on our families that are wealthy beyond belief in most countries around the world. To not be able to put these differences in our own families aside to eat a meal for a few hours together in peace is complete insanity to me. If peace can’t happen with different viewpoints in our families, how is it supposed to happen around the world? What does that say about our lack of endurance as a nation if we can’t suck it up for a day to eat with some people that make us uncomfortable? If we need to get away from the family because it’s “so bad” for us, while some people have literally no homes or families to enjoy (or not) this Thanksgiving. What does that say about our priorities as individuals? Hypocrisy is evident and shameful and runs deeply through the veins on both sides of the aisles.
Family is crazy. No doubt. Will I be annoyed this Thanksgiving? Guaranteed. Will I roll my eyes at someone’s crazy antics? Absolutely. Will I work super hard at changing the unwavering opinions of someone in my family this year? I will not; they already know how I feel and I don’t want to engage in that business. Will I remove my children from the room if there are crazy, hurtful things flying around? Yes. Will I be grateful that I’m around people who love me, even if we don’t see eye to eye. Absolutely.