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Politics, Families, Feelings — Why We Need Thanksgiving!

In the aftermath of the recent presidential election, families reflect the divide and uncertainty that the nation faces. With the unrelenting media coverage and visceral contention of this presidential election, politics became personal.

In some families, brothers, sisters, parents and children with different political views feel betrayed and at odds with each other. Many will not be having Thanksgiving together.

In other families there is relief and expectation as they look forward to changes they wanted from a new administration. Some family members wait with patience to see how it unfolds. Some have taken the election as license to shower hate and even violence on those they deem “ unfit “ to be in this county.

Other American families shudder with uncertainty about the election results. They fear loss of the guarantee of equality for all that this country has been struggling to fulfill. Some members wait to see what will unfold. Others argue for a need for action and protest.

Added to these, are many American families who together with their children have already felt the terror, racism and discrimination that the election has unleashed. Whether experienced personally in a fourth grade class or bombarded by media examples, they feel and fear physical threat, stigma, discrimination, and loss of safety in a country they love.

  • Most Americans are emotionally tired.
  • All Americans face uncertainly.

Although it may seem paradoxical, we have never needed Thanksgiving more!

This Thanksgiving, we have never needed a better reason whether alone, with kin or with kindred spirits to pause and consider the power of gratitude to reduce uncertainty, fear, contention and lost moments in a lifetime.

To stop to be grateful is to take a respite from anger, hate, fear, worry and despair. Positive feelings like gratitude reduce stress and broaden and build resilience. Even for a few moments, gratitude is the gift that gives back because it puts us in touch with the best of who we are. Maybe we need, for a day, even for a few moments, to look away from the politics to find personal reasons to be grateful.

To be grateful for a child, a meal, a loved one, the ability to play music, to pray, to laugh, to play, to walk along the beach, to taste pumpkin pie, to hug a pet, to remember a precious moment, to see a sunset, to trust self, to trust others, to dare to hope— is to embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Enjoy the little things, for one day

You may look back and realize

They were the big things.

-Robert Brault

Politics, Families, Feelings — Why We Need Thanksgiving!

Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP

Suzanne B. Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP is a licensed psychologist. She is Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Doctoral Program of Long Island University and on the faculty of the Post-Doctoral Programs of the Derner Institute of Adelphi University. Suzanne Phillips, PsyD and Dianne Kane are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Learn more about their work at . Visit Suzanne's Facebook Page HERE.

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APA Reference
Phillips, S. (2016). Politics, Families, Feelings — Why We Need Thanksgiving!. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Nov 2016
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