Sometimes in the face of adversity, we can find a beacon of light. That light is the time of year in which we are approaching. Less than 2 weeks from now many of you will be sitting down with your families and enjoying a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner. Some of you will choose to keep the gathering small, while others will have a big family feast. Some who are reading this will possibly be sitting down somewhere they never thought they’d be. Some will sit down in a church or one of the many cafes that will be offering free meals to those less fortunate. Most of us will be sitting down and giving thanks in one way or another.
For some, this will be their first American thanksgiving. Many immigrants come to the United States in search of hope. They travel from all across the world looking for a new opportunity in their lives. Many will be thankful to just be here and away from some of the atrocities they saw in the countries they came from. We often forget in the political dialogue we share that people are often times escaping oppression and tyranny. We as Americans do our best to welcome them, but also let them know that we don’t want them to forget why they came to our country. We fight among ourselves bickering over the status of these people and bicker about wanting these people to assimilate to our way of life. We seem to forget though; that if this is their first Thanksgiving here, all they know is where they came from.
We have been fighting over an election that not all of us are happy about. Democrats and Republicans alike are slamming their fists on their desks for different reasons. We often times forget how lucky we truly are. We are lucky to be able to slam our fists on our desks and protest freely in our streets. We forget how lucky we are that even though we have a ways to go to be perfect, we are far better than so many nations in this world. We are an exceptional nation. We are still seen as a beacon of hope to those who live in countries with severe poverty, oppression of class, sex, and race. We are spoiled. We are a child nation; even now. We want everything, when we seem to forget there are those that have nothing. That is not to say that we should not strive for more, but we should be mindful of those who have come here; who see our arguing, and who wish their loved ones back home could be so lucky as they are today.
The man in the picture above stands on the street corner because our holiday season is here and we are fighting among ourselves. We are yelling and calling our neighbors atrocious things. We are better than this. We are Americans. What kind of example are we setting for our children, when we cannot even welcome our friends and family to the dinner table due to their differing beliefs? ‘Everybody Love Everybody’ is a powerful message. The disconnect in this society has to stop. The dialogue needs to open. No one is happy when it comes to politics. No one ever gets everything they want. We have to work to find a middle ground. We have to work towards a future where we listen and stop the name calling and shaming for ones beliefs.
As the holiday season approaches, we need to take heed to those around us. As you walk into a grocery store, a shopping mall, or any public place, remember that each individual there is American or aspiring to be an American. Though we all have differences, we have that one thing that makes us the same. Our differing beliefs are what make us stronger as a nation. Our ability to hear each other is what makes us better than the rest of the world. We don’t stifle free speech, we embrace us. There’s a reason why our bill of rights made that the number one issue. It’s about more than protected speech in front of the government. It’s about all of us and our willingness to listen to each other. How can we expect our government; which is made up of ‘we the people,’ to listen, when we won’t listen to ourselves?
We can be great. We are great as a nation. We don’t need to make America great again as our President-Elect says as we are already there. We just need to remind ourselves from time to time why we are great. Together, that is something we can all help remind each other.
So those family plans you cancelled, remake them. That friend you deleted from social media, re-add them. That neighbor you scoffed at, smile at them tomorrow. Remember the time of year and make it a great one for yourself and the ones you love. We are one nation of many different people and beliefs. Let’s be thankful for that together.