This Thanksgiving, look for unity

We are thankful for the county we live in, for the freedoms we enjoy, the green spaces and the diverse community that lives, loves and works here. We are thankful to live in a vast and beautiful land, governed by a democracy carefully constructed by our forbearers, who worked brilliantly on the system of government that we enjoy today, the envy of most of the rest of the world. Take a moment today to reflect on all the goodness that surrounds us.

While the election may have been weeks ago, tensions (and rhetoric) are high. On social media and in the news, readers are assailed with information from both the left and right predicting the outcome of the next four years, two years, 100 days. This column is not intended to raise anyone’s blood pressure. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong and it certainly shouldn’t add fuel to anyone’s argument. This weekend, we are all nonpartisan and taking a few minutes to be thankful for our communities and to encourage civil, civic discourse at the dinner table, online and in public.

In the past year, Centre County HOPE sponsored multiple town halls in order to discuss the rise of heroin and opioid abuse in our community. These meetings provided both an educational opportunity for attendees and a chance to voice their own concerns. The news coverage and the marketing of the events made the citizenry aware of the issues even if they decided not to attend.

To that end, we propose another town hall event to be organized in the coming months. The focus will be to provide an open forum in which to discuss those facets of government that we all agree make our country unique in this world. It will serve to give voice to dreams and desires that unify us as a community and transcend partisan politics. With the help of our neighbors, we can define those values that foster unity. This unity has defined our county and is, in part, why so many return here to retire and raise families.

So on this Thanksgiving weekend, consider your part in civic discourse. Learn what you can from those who think differently. All of us need jobs, work, a purpose and a means to sustain ourselves, our families, our friends and the things we care about. More talking, more listening and more compromising in the interest of the entire community will make us all stronger together. Make the most of the time you have with your families, and find unity in some aspect of the American Dream.

Tell us what you think. We will compile your letters for publication in a few days. You can send your letter quickly by going to www.centredaily.com/opinion/letters-to-the- editor/submit-letter.