Thanksgiving Family Trump Tensions? Media Organizations, Civic Groups Partner In Effort To Steer Talk To Civil Discourse

Photo by ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10484906k) National Thanksgiving Turkeys 'Bread' (L) and 'Butter' (R) relax in their suite at the Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington, DC, USA, 25 November 2019.

President Donald Trump and the impeachment inquiry may be pushing the country into a new level of polarization, but a group of media organizations and civic groups is trying to at least tame the talk at the Thanksgiving dinner table — beyond suggesting everyone just chat about the weather.

Their effort is part of a project called The Purple Project for Democracy, which was launched this year as a way to promote democratic values and institutions.

“In this moment of rampant political divisiveness, Purple seeks to end family bickering over Thanksgiving dinner, make everyone’s voices heard and help us all remember and be grateful for (as messy as it can be) our democracy,” the group said in an announcement.

The group, The Purple Project for Democracy, even unveiled an online toolkit, which includes ways to “start your Thanksgiving conversations on the same factual footing.”

Example: The climate. “Transportation has surpassed power as the leading producer of greenhouse gas emissions.” Immigration. “Half our yearly population growth is due to immigration.” Active shooters. “In 2018, there were 27 active shooter incidents in the US.”

Its co-founder is Bob Garfield, co-host of public radio’s On the Media, and they’ve created a social media campaign aimed at millennials and Gen Zers. Other organizers include creative media executive Craig Bland and Rebecca Winthrop, senior fellow and co-director of Brookings’ Center for Universal Education. Media partners include NPR, National Lampoon, The History Channel, the News Media Alliance, The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle.

The group also enlisted the Harris Poll to do a survey that showed that 46% of millennials and Gen Z (born between 1996-2010) are “anxious” about Thanksgiving dinner conversations. Some 32% of parents of minors said that they have changed their holiday plans to avoid political conversations.

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