Thanksgiving dinner: one of few times of year where the whole family gets together to start an argument. Of course, nobody outright starts the argument. It always stems from a random topic that turns political. One person says something mundane like, “gas prices are crazy,” and then someone outlandishly responds with something like “I voted for Trump twice… in 2020.” A bitter political debate ensues and the next several minutes are full of the worst takes you’ve heard, all from people who wouldn’t pass the citizenship civics test. Of course this year was no different for local college student, Tom Patton, who shared the events of his Thanksgiving dinner with us.
Patton reflects that it started as a normal Thanksgiving. His dad’s side of the family all decided Tom’s house was the place to be this year, with family members showing up early in the morning as Tom was still recovering from his Wednesday night midterms. After suffering several grueling hours of small talk with relatives that know way too much for only talking during major holidays, and family members pointing out characters in the Macy’s day parade followed by “Oh Tom, you’re probably too young to know who that is”, it was finally time for dinner.
Tom envied his little sister Susie, a mere freshman in high school. As the youngest and therefore favorite child, she had successfully pleaded her case to eat at the adult table. Tom was a little upset since he had to wait until his first year in college to make it to the adult table, and that was only after assuring his uncle that he hadn’t been brainwashed by his liberal college, because “the first semester is when their brainwashing is the strongest” according to his uncle with the NewsMax logo burnt into his TV screen.
Dinner was surprisingly going smoothly. The unseasoned turkey only had a few scraps remaining, with no mention of politics or even a hint of a fight brewing. Tom’s mom, in typical mom fashion, innocently asked the table to go around and say one thing they're thankful for. Again, everything was going smoothly, until it reached Susie. “I’m thankful for the trip to visit the capitol in Washington DC this summer with my 8th grade class.” Tom rolled his eyes after hearing his little sister mention the stupid trip for the hundreth time. Before Tom could share, his Grandpa spoke up. “You know, I actually visited the capitol last year.” The family exchanged confused glances; this was the first time anyone heard of this trip. Grandma butted in, “Oh hush, honey.” “No, no, no. My kids and grandkids need to hear about this. It’s important they know we got a patriot in the family.”
So far, Tom was more confused than anything. He had never considered his grandfather ‘patriotic’ before, especially after learning he paid his doctor off to get out of the draft for Vietnam. “After the ‘demonrats’ stole the election back in 2020, I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t stand idly by as Joe and the Hoe got ready to destroy the country. So I took a little trip out in January to DC to save this country. I was there fighting along with my fellow patriots as we stormed the place to save our democracy.” Tom’s Grandpa pulled out his flip phone Tom’s dad made him carry in case of emergency. He pulled up some low-res pictures of him all over the Capitol building, including Nancy’s Pelosi’s office. Tom’s uncle was overjoyed, but was crushed by Grandpa telling him that he wasn’t a true patriot since he didn’t show up on January 6th, and would therefore be removed from the will. Now, Grandpa’s most definitely illegal gun collection remains up for grabs to anyone in family that makes themselves known to be a ‘true patriot’. As the rest of the table got into a screaming match, Tom silently pulled out his phone and submitted a tip to the FBI.