The Great Pumpkin Tradition: Stay Quiet, Bite Tongue and Let it Go?

August, Osage County

You do not discuss politics, religion or anything near a topical event that could cause dissension during Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a get together with loved ones, friends and family, for a wonderful day at a home to share a feast. In this safe environment, among family and friends, what does it say about us, if we can’t talk openly in this environment? We expect politicians to work things out for the good of all, businesses to operate fairly, etc and yet the mere thought of certain topics for dinner conversation bring fear and loathing to the masses.

With families and friends, you know, or you assume you know their stance and when it differs from yours. To keep peace, you keep quiet. So, where do we learn to respectfully listen to a different viewpoint? Maybe that’s the wrong question, do we value the ability to discuss issues and negotiate equitable solutions? A post, a like or any other form of social media is not a conversation, scrolling through feeds and stories online is not research. Yet, we often do these things to state and or rationalize our beliefs without affording ourselves the possibility of being wrong.

Before you start with the “agree to disagree,” stop.There are times when “agree to disagree” does not work; a choice has to be made. Five people plan to go to dinner. They have to select a restaurant; there is no agree to disagree. There is some discussion, maybe compromise, negotiation, and some give & take. This Thanksgiving, maybe it’s business as usual and certain topics remain verboten. This week, consider, how  and when do you engage in civil discourse? Is this a conversation that needs to be had?

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