Our country’s deep divisions have a silver lining: shorter Thanksgiving dinner

Illustration for article titled Our country’s deep divisions have a silver lining: shorter Thanksgiving dinner
Photo: Michael Cogliantry (Getty Images)

Whatever your political affiliation, the United States isn’t so united right now. We live in an us-vs.-them society, where every issue must be assigned a victor and a loser. We revel in beating the other team. We’re distrustful of one another. We no longer invite over friends who voted for Trump. We no longer invite over friends who voted for Hillary. Perhaps not since 1968 has America felt so fractured.


But hey hey, at least Thanksgiving dinner is mercifully shorter! At least, if you’re lucky enough to be in one of those families with differing politics. As first reported in the The New York Times, a study published in Science magazine discovered that for Americans who traveled to a politically opposite part of the country for Thanksgiving 2016—right after the Trump election—those dinners lasted on average 30 to 50 minutes shorter than Thanksgiving travelers who visited regions with like-minded politics. Perhaps this is no surprise—who’d want to stay to hear #MAGA Aunt Doris and #Snowflake Cousin Sam word-vomit about Jill Stein?

To me, the most interesting aspect of the story is how the study was conducted. I’d suggest you click on the Times article for a detailed recounting, and it’s both fascinating and borderline creepy: Essentially, researchers tracked the location pings of 10 million smart phones, then compared them against voting records, and from there, deduced that those who crossed over from Blueland to Redville or vice-versa wanted nothing more than to get the hell outta there. No word on how many December holiday plans were subsequently cancelled.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.



I always host Thanksgiving. Its mine. The first one after the last presidential election i was worried about what might go down because I know the politics of my family members and we are very on opposing sides of the results. But what actually happened was, almost no political discussion and no problems or fighting at all. Maybe its because they were being cool since it was a holiday, or maybe its because they know I wouldn’t hesitate to throw their ass out. But either way, it was not a shorter Thanksgiving dinner. And I say that’s a good thing. If you need a shorter dinner, you may need to change who is doing the cooking.