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Hard to swallow: embracing a political Thanksgiving

by Margaret Stewart - Managing Editor
Fri, Dec 13th 2019 10:00 am
Political Science Club hosted a Thanksgiving dinner to encourage healthy ways of discussing difficult subjects.
Political Science Club hosted a Thanksgiving dinner to encourage healthy ways of discussing difficult subjects.

The Union Gallery smelled like Thanksgiving on Monday, Nov. 25 as students from the Political Science Club gathered for their event “A Depolarized Dinner.” In order to prepare for going home and being swarmed by family, the club hosted the event in order to get everyone’s opinions on every controversial topic they could think of.

The event was the brain-child of the club’s Vice President Sarah Thalhammer who explained the controversy was not only welcome, it was expected.

“We’re supposed to get into arguments,” Thalhammer said. “I think it’s important to be able to talk about politics freely and not feel uncomfortable. It’s an important part of everyone’s lives and talking about it is equally important.”

The club’s President Joe Anais was in full support. Thanksgiving only a few days away and the holiday can cause people to be really stressed out instead of enjoying the time they have with their families. 

“There’s always that crazy family member that has certain political views divisive to family ruining the family dinner,” Anais said.

For starters, the group kicked things off by talking about the legality of abortions — a topic that is readily avoided at most typical dinner tables not to mention the Thanksgiving table. Arguments ranged from attempting to pinpoint the exact point when life starts in the womb, the morality of abortions in general and if abortions are legalized potential state stipulations that could be implimented.

Club member Tyler Wood brought up the topic of confederate statues being removed and jump-started a surprisingly balanced conversation. While some members like Frank Meiler felt the statues should be removed as they symbolize “insurrection against America,” Anais agreed but emphasized they should be preserved as they are “historical, heroic symbolism” and “history shouldn’t be destroyed.”

Naturally, the topic jumped from confederate statues to flying the Confederate battle flag; specifically, above the Mason Dixon line.

This led to members calling for and suggesting a cultural revolution. The conversation was spearheaded by Brockport Student Government Vice President Sam Druzbik relying on Disney/ Pixar’s Syndrome to make his point.

“If everyone has guns, no one does,” Druzbik satirically pronounced. “The tree of liberty should be refreshed with the blood of patriots.”

On a more serious note people discussed what a cultural revolution could consist of. Importantly, the group was totally against indoctrination and it recognized that it would be incredibly difficult to engineer. Some suggestions included ideas such as enlisting in the Peace Corp., an entire educational overhaul and a re-balancing of state and federal governments. 

While some of the topics were fairly serious, the event was broken up by playful banter that helped to keep the mood light and remind everyone not to take themselves too seriously. One such conversation was a heated debate between Druzbik and Meiler regarding “pickle-ology.” The topic of pickles was dissected in any and all of their shapes, sizes and variations. 

The debate sparked another controversial topic: condiments. From ketchup to various mustards and landing on the ever contentious mayo, the group talked about the logistics and practicality of putting one, none or a combination of them onto any and every Rochester-based delicacy.

Though few in numbers, the members made up for it in heated yet respectful conversations.

“It has allowed for discussion in a respectful environment without the backlash before you have to go home and learn something from what we talk about,” Anais said. “We want to cover every single major divisive topic.”

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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