American-born, Dublin-based – Meg Walker is grateful that her original home country is finally on the path to recovery.
It’s Thanksgiving… a holiday I’ve long abandoned as I remained on the usual treadmill of my life, spending it like any other Thursday, racing to drop the children to minders before hopping on the morning train, grabbing a takeaway coffee and spending the next eight hours in front of a screen, perhaps stopping midday to pick up and wolf down a turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwich (a Christmas-themed delicacy from the local deli). Family would ask how I was spending the holiday before I reminded them that it wasn’t a holiday here in Ireland, it was just an ordinary weekday.
But last year, I suddenly found myself available to throw a couple of small turkey breasts in the oven and have a relatively decent roast dinner on the table by 6pm for my small family to sit around, enjoy and be thankful for. It’s been one year since I went out on my own as a freelancer, just a few short months before Covid-19 hit this part of the globe. So this year, I actually made a plan for Thanksgiving (well, sort of) – I picked up a turkey crown this time (sorry, but a proper turkey would just be too much for my family of four, and therefore a waste) and it’s ready to place in the oven as soon as I finish writing this piece…
So here is what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving (for those of you who aren’t aware, this American holiday is meant to be about more than just food; traditionally, Americans are meant to express what they are grateful for today of all days – although, truthfully, shouldn’t we do that throughout the year? Anyway, I digress…):
I am so very thankful that after four arduous, stressful years of trying to avoid listening to or reading about the vitriolic speech spilling from the mouth of the outgoing President of the United States (he who shall not be named for it would just set my blood boiling), I can finally look forward to four fresh years of positive, hopeful, uniting messages from our new President-elect, Joe Biden (yes, he can be named here, proudly and happily); to proper leadership of a country so very deeply divided, and to collaboration with the rest of the world to help bring peace and unity and real solutions to very real problems… responsibilities which #45 seemed to ignore on the job spec.
I’m very sad to say, these are all opinions I’ve had to hold deep under my breath. They’re the things I couldn’t express on Facebook in the lead-up to the election, much as I wanted to. (Twitter, of course, is a different kettle of fish – politics are okay to share there, apparently.) I know many brave people who invited friends and family to unfollow them if they didn’t want to hear what they had to say on their own social channels, and I applauded them (okay, I liked their posts), but I was well aware that a good number of people I remain actually importantly close to were still supporting Trump (sorry, I’ve run out of different ways to reference the sorry sod), and anything I decided to express online would be met with harsh words I just became to weary to face.
You see, I know what it’s like to sit around a table with folks who think they’re right and you’re just plain, flat out wrong, and frankly, you cannot win that argument, no matter how informed you are on the subject (in my past life, I actually worked as an intern for the Democratic Presidential Campaign in, erm, 1996 – please, spare me the intern jokes, I’ve heard them already). I’m tired of arguing with people who don’t want to listen. And I don’t wish to lose family or friends over politics.
All I can do is vote, pray, and then wait to see what the future holds… Will Biden be able to fill the deep chasm in my home country? I’m not sure that can be accomplished in a mere four years, nor eight if he does get a second term, but I hope – and I do pray – that he is successful in making all Americans realise that there is a better way to lead a nation, that politics isn’t just a battle between two “sides” (I’ve heard that word – sides – used recently, and it made me very sad… we have so lost perspective on what the American government should be about) but a system through which we can elect real leaders to work hard at improving the lives of all citizens; to represent our country with dignity, grace, and sheer manners; and to support leaders across the world to ensure the lives of everyone, globally, are given equal consideration. It takes a strong leader to accomplish any of those tasks. Someone who thinks outside of his or her own silo.
So, I am properly thankful this year. It’s a very different feeling to the one I had Thanksgiving 2016, and every one in between. Here’s hoping that by next year, all of us will see it that way. And maybe – just maybe – we can toast together around a giant dinner table, whether virtually or IRL, to happier times.
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