Advice columns abound instructing leftists on how to endure the misery of conversing with conservative relatives at Thanksgiving. The genre has become a holiday tradition. The L.A. Times outlined “what to do if your crazy right-wing uncle comes to Thanksgiving.” The New York Times explained “How to have a conservation with your crazy [conservative] uncle over the holidays.” Mother Jones warned, “You won’t change your cranky conservative uncle in one dinner conversation.” Someone seems cranky, but I don’t think it’s your conservative uncle.
The articles always run in one direction, preparing leftists for their annual interaction with a conservative. One rarely, if ever, sees a think piece bracing conservatives to deal with their crazy leftist nieces. What would be the need? Politics might be religion for the Left, but conservatives understand there is more to life than politics. Besides, we live in a leftist culture. We encounter leftism every time we turn on a screen. We understand their arguments better than they understand ours, and we don’t need to spoil our dinner with banal bickering over politicians.
For the Left, Thanksgiving is about politics; for the Right, politics is about thanksgiving. The different approaches to holiday conversation come from opposing views of politics. The leftist vision of politics as a matter of rights begets an attitude of grievance and entitlement. If ”the political is the personal,” as the radicals of the 1960s insisted, then all personal interactions must take on an activist agenda. As GQ told its left-wing audience, “It’s your civic duty to ruin Thanksgiving by bringing up Trump this Turkey Day,” urging them to “consider making life HELL for a few of your relatives.”
The conservative vision regards politics more as a matter of gratitude than entitlement—duty over rights. We have inherited so much: a wonderful country, a culture of freedom and abundance, even our life itself, earned through no effort of our own but bequeathed as a gift from our forefathers. The leftist unease at Thanksgiving represents an unease with thanksgiving more generally. Revisionist attacks on our Pilgrim forefathers at Plymouth express a fundamental ingratitude for the country they gave us.
In certain leftist circles, it has become fashionable to refer to Thanksgiving as the ”National Day of Mourning” to commemorate rather than celebrate alleged Puritan crimes against defenseless Native Americans. This anti-historical narrative commits a grave injustice to both the English and the Indians: it robs the Pilgrims of their virtue and the Indians of their dignity. Worst of all, the revisionism fuels the grievance politics that ails our nation four centuries after the landing of the Mayflower. (Read more from “How to Talk to Your Left-Wing Family Member About Thanksgiving at Thanksgiving” HERE)