Thanksgiving Dinner, Let the Debate Begin!

COMMENTARY | The memories of the Thanksgiving debate – I mean dinner – of 2008 still makes my blood boil. Whenever there is a holiday, there is a family gathering. Then comes the conversation, wine, and ultimately, heated debate comparable to a WWE match.

Before Occupy Wall Street, there was the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act that proposed $700 billion of government funds to purchase distressed assets, better known as assets now worth nothing.This fall came right after all time high profits of 2006-2007. The media ran specials on the bonuses of Wall Street employees who make more in one Christmas than an average worker in a lifetime. Goldman Sachs, the King of Wall Street, was nicknamed Goldmine Sacks in the papers. The taxpayers of America were not sympathetic.

I was one loud voice, Republican, arguing against the majority, Democrat, between my childhood friend from third grade and the sweet potatoes. He did not see analyzing data and numbers in Excel 14 hrs a day equate to real work.

“Why should these fools sitting at a desk all day producing nothing get my hard earned money I sweated for? They ripped off everyone’s money and now they expects a bailout?”

I was one of those “fools” sitting at my desk analyzing data and numbers 16, not 14, hrs a day.

“Wall Street didn’t tell these people to take $200,000 out of their home equity when they can’t pay it back. You didn’t have a problem telling your customers to go from a 30-year fixed loan to a 3-year ARM when they are retired!” I remember retorting.

Did I mention we have been friends since the third grade? Everyone at the table had an opinion, from my mother who does not vote to my friend’s kid brother, who was not old enough to vote. The gloves were off. I remember hearing the phrases “the land of the stupid” and “why don’t we let robbers claim insurance when they get caught too” thrown in for good measure. This went on till 3 a.m., I remember distinctly. The debate lulled not because we resolved but we were too sleepy to continue voicing the same opinions like a broken record. For months after, we would continue this with emails and links with additional research we came across to reinforce our points.

There is a reason why holiday dinners/family gatherings are such a popular forum for heated debates and gloves always come off. It is the only place you can have them and still have friends and family. We don’t resolve anything, but we know we will be with each other the next Thanksgiving, and the next.

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