As families prepare to reunite or are contemplating gathering for Thanksgiving during this continuing pandemic, the vaccination disagreement continues.
Do the vaccinated Joneses invite unvaccinated family members who will be mingling with grandma and grandpa, who, despite having been vaccinated themselves, are still at risk because of age and underlying conditions?
Do the Joneses welcome everyone and hope the only thing guests take away from dinner are leftovers and good memories? Or do their health concerns lead them to limit the seats at the table, followed by,“We hope you understand?”
That’s where many families have found themselves this week, as they wrestle with their urge to reconnect versus the caution they have been exercising — or not — since the covid-19 outbreak a year-and-a-half ago.
Despite the commercialized happy family image that’s prevalent during the holidays, maintaining family harmony isn’t always easy even in the best of times. Now, it’s been made more difficult.
Perceived slights, an untoward comment, or colliding philosophies can cause permanent damage, and realizing that has put many Thanksgiving hosts in an exceptionally delicate situation.
Some understanding of the would-be hosts’ distress is warranted here, and that burden falls on the unvaccinated to accept and respect whatever they decide. It isn’t personal and it’s simply a safety-first frame of mind.
It may just be that while the hosts respect the personal liberty argument of the unvaccinated others, it remains that the right of the unvaccinated to follow their own paths does not extend into the paths that others have chosen.
Similarly, the right to decline an invitation to dinner is just as absolute, and should not be viewed as commentary on individual situations.
It’s Thanksgiving and people should be thankful that they’re still here and still able to argue without alienating each other forever.