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How to Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Midst of Toxic Politics and COVID-19 Lockdowns

John W. Whitehead
November 24th, 2020
The Rutherford Institute
Comments (11)

This article was originally published by John W. Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute.

“War is over. If you want it.”—John Lennon

If ever there were a year filled with an abundance of bad news and a shortage of good news, 2020 would take the prize. Between the toxic political theater, pandemic scares, nationwide lockdowns that smack of martial law, a rollercoaster economy, and the ever-present menace of the police state, it’s been a hard, heart-wrenching, stomach-churning kind of year overrun with too much hate and too little tolerance.

It’s been a year in which tyranny took a few more steps forward, freedom got knocked down a few more notches, and politics and profit margins took precedence over decency, compassion, and human kindness.

Now we find ourselves at this present moment, overwhelmed by all that is wrong in the world and missing the fellowship of family and friends kept apart by COVID-19 restrictions and concerns.

No wonder this Thanksgiving finds so many struggling to reflect and give thanks for what is good. After all, how do you give thanks for freedoms that are constantly being eroded? How do you express gratitude for one’s safety when the perils posed by the American police state grow more treacherous by the day? How do you come together as a nation in thanksgiving when the powers-that-be continue to polarize and divide us into warring factions?

Here’s what I’ve learned from living in a small community (population 1500) for the past year: you don’t have to agree on politics, or subscribe to the same religious beliefs, or have the same demographic makeup in order to live peaceably with one another.

These small-town people don’t have a preponderance of fancy cars or advanced degrees or six-figure salaries or committees aimed at discussing problems to death, and yet they have mastered the art of getting along. They make no secret about their views on politics and religion and anything else on their minds, and yet they remain friendly—neighborly—respectful of those with opposing views, even when they wholeheartedly disagree.

Yes, America, there is life beyond politics and it can be wonderful if you just give it a chance.

Here’s what I suggest: this Thanksgiving, do yourselves a favor and turn off the talking heads, tune out the politicians, and take a deep breath. Then try this exercise in gratitude: find something to be thankful for about the things and people in your community for which you might have the least tolerance or appreciation. Instead of just rattling off a list of things you’re thankful for that sound good, dig a little deeper and acknowledge the good in those you may have underappreciated or feared.

When it comes time to giving thanks for your good fortune, put your gratitude into action: pay your blessings forward with deeds that spread a little kindness, lighten someone’s burden, and brighten some dark corner.

Engage in acts of kindness. Smile more. Fight less. Build bridges. Refuse to let toxic politics define your relationships. Focus on the things that unite instead of that which divides.

Do your part to push back against the meanness of our culture with conscious compassion and humanity. Moods are contagious, the good and the bad. They can be passed from person to person. So can the actions associated with those moods, the good and the bad.

Even with COVID-19 restrictions in place throughout the country, there is still so much good that can be done to help those in need.

Be a hero, whether or not anyone ever notices.

Acts of benevolence, no matter how inconsequential they might seem, can spark a movement.

Each of us has an inner hero we can draw upon in an emergency,” concludes psychologist Philip Zimbardo. “If you think there is even a possibility that someone needs help, act on it. You may save a life. You are the modern version of the Good Samaritan that makes the world a better place for all of us.”

All it takes is one person breaking away from the fold to change the dynamics of a situation. “Once anyone helps, then in seconds others will join in because a new social norm emerges,” notes Zimbardo.

This is what Zimbardo refers to as “the power of one.”

“If you find yourself in an ambiguous situation, resist the urge to look to others and go with your gut instinct,” advises Melissa Burkley in Psychology Today. “If you think there is even a possibility that someone is in need, act on it. At worst, you will embarrass yourself for a few minutes, but at best, you will save a life.”

In other words, don’t turn away from suffering. Even smiling at a stranger in these fearful times can be a revolutionary act.

All it takes is one person to start a chain reaction.

For instance, a few years ago in Florida, a family of six—four adults and two young boys—were swept out to sea by a powerful rip current in Panama City Beach. There was no lifeguard on duty. The police were standing by, waiting for a rescue boat. And the few people who had tried to help ended up stranded, as well.

Those on shore grouped together and formed a human chain. What started with five volunteers grew to 15, then 80 people, some of whom couldn’t swim.

One by one, they linked hands and stretched as far as their chain would go. The strongest of the volunteers swam out beyond the chain and began passing the stranded victims of the rip current down the chain.

One by one, they rescued those in trouble and pulled each other in.

There’s a moral here for what needs to happen in this country if we only can band together and prevail against the riptides that threaten to overwhelm us.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, there may not be much we can do to avoid the dismal reality of the police state in the long term—not so long as the powers-that-be continue to call the shots and allow profit margins to take precedence over the needs of people—but in the short term, there are things we can all do right now to make this world (or at least our small corners of it) a little bit kinder, a lot less hostile and more just.

It’s never too late to start making things right in the world.

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    Author: John W. Whitehead
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    Date: November 24th, 2020
    Website: https://www.rutherford.org

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    11 Comments...

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    1. Turkey tits says:

      Um hello…we’re in a pandemic… don’t go around people! You’ll get the covid! Stay in your house lock the doors and don’t come out. EVER! There’s no reason to go anywhere w all the delivery services nowadays and drones are getting ready to all come online so those brave delivery people won’t have to risk their lives anymore. Also make sure that while in your house, you are wearing a mask! It makes me so angry to not see people wearing those masks! It’s so simple just do it!

      Just kidding folks! Do what ever you want and ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS!

    2. Hmm, since my wife passed away 3 yrs ago, I don’t really go any place except to my son’s house ( a mile away ) and to my son in law’s place for the holidays.so staying home is no problem for me, but I did played it safe and ordered a 2 person traditional turkey meal with all the trimmings for myself ( left overs, I suppose some smart a– government guy with more education than common sense will be more than willing to tell me that I can’t do that either ). going to do some plinking with the .22 and call it good.

    3. Darth Skippy says:

      I believe that a very small, moneyless town would be mostly unaffected by politics, but that we should let divisive issues decide our personal lives, when the people involved have the power to ruin us.

    4. SL1M42 says:

      Disagree
      I live in a small town too.
      It’s best to ride the demon possessed liberals out of town on a rail whereas others might live in harmony.
      NO MORE TRYING TO MOVE AWAY FROM THEM.

      We wasted years trying to appease their whims and constant whining.
      NEVER ONCE ..NOT ONCE was our benevolence reciprocated.

      You can NOT show compassion to hate filled people.

      How can you break bread with people that want to destroy everything traditional , especially the nuclear family?
      …. not to mention Thanksgiving

      I will no longer feed, coddle, enable, humor, or accomadate the scourge of liberalisim.

    5. cranerigger says:

      Quoting from the last 7 words in your first paragraph “… too much HATE and too little TOLERANCE.” I agree about too much hate, but the reference to too little TOLERANCE is wrong. For decades citizens have tolerated folks that make a mockery of our borders, have temper-tantrum gatherings (RIOTS) to burn our cities, gain positions-of-power to destroy our nation and we are told to be more TOLERANT. Some of our founding fathers suggested eternal vigilance & religious morality are required to hold this nation together.

    6. Watch out! They’ll have us eating tofu turkey next year cuz its good for the environment, healthy for you and probably more taxable. Lettuce with that?

    7. Indeed says:

      Read an honest comment somewhere by someone which pretty much summed up our current situation.The exact comment was:THE REAL VIRUS IS COMMUNISM CORONAVIRUS IS JUST HOW IT SPREADS…🤔

    8. cranerigger says:

      Regarding the Supreme Court ruling on religious persecution by New York’s Governor Cuomo (D). I’m just a crane-operator & a crane-rigger (with the knowledge that many of my colleagues are smarter than me) and I can understand the plain English in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. “… RELIGION, or prohibiting the free exercize thereof. …” Cuomo needs a few remedial courses in English Comprehension. The fool doesn’t even realize his TYRANNY was slapped down by 5 awesome Supreme Court JUSTICES. Supremes, thanks for doing the right thing.

    9. loudmouth says:

      So happy the Supreme Court ruled against the tyrant from NY. This Cuomo is such a filthy character.I have actually amended my thinking from Andrew not just being one of the worst governors there is ,but,also one of the very worst human beings there ever was.The guy truly is such a condensing lowlife who will do anything to keep his job/”authority” over people.How the fuck this guy got a fuckin’ award is beyond me? The only award this creep should be nominated for is the worst of the worst of the worst!!! 😠

    10. Darth Skippy says:

      Family Guy – The special breakfast unit
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmpt2wCujJM

      Without waiting another day, find the right place, and put them there.

    11. Darth Skippy says:

      Article 2 of the UN Convention defines genocide as

      … any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

      (a) Killing members of the group;
      (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
      (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
      (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
      (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
      — Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article 2

      Families in 2020 make casual, everyday, anti-natal decisions against the Christian patriarchy. We are subjected to psychological abuse. Though, family is the fundamental social unit, through which we might organize.

      If you won’t make these decisions over Thanksgiving dinner, then, over which dinner.

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