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Thanksgiving Note from Circles of Immigrants

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By: Joe Mauricio

 

With the Thanksgiving holiday soon upon us, it occurs to me that the gratitude expressed among circles of friends and family this year may slow in coming, what with the huge divisions that have penetrated so many human circles in the past years.

It is reported that Thanksgiving is the most traveled among holidays with the promise of bringing loved ones together for time of fun, food, and companionship. Of course, there is always stories of imperfect interactions, such as, wildfires in California, hurricane in Florida, and other hazards of social reality.

This year’s topic of disagreements on immigrants may have been lurking in the background for years waiting for these moments to find voice. Some folks are relieved to hear and see their opinions embodied in these days while other are discouraged by the same publicized demonstrations of personal convictions.

At the same time, we are being challenged to understand why certain inflammatory words and actions are being protected by the First Amendment rights. So-called elitists and intellectuals, along with established government are often named as conspiring against the masses.

Thinking outside of the populism box requires some work, including unsubstantiated news reporting, rampant, as we now realize through addictive social media.

We are a nation of immigrants, yet many, perhaps majority, now view immigrants with suspicions, fear and downright hostility, based on the actions of a few extremists and the surge of thousands seeking asylum in American from their war-torn lives.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (Emma Lazarus). We are certain that the pride in our history as Americans and despair over the direction the nation’s path is taking were seated side by side. How do we express gratitude this year? How do we stay connected with friends and families in these times?

The easy way out would seem to avoid talking about what so deeply concerns us. Maybe to the extent of avoiding the gatherings. The more difficult choice is to stay connected while acknowledging the presence of different opinions and focusing on real gratitude with respect for each other and the gifts we receive as citizens of this country. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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