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Enjoy Thanksgiving, Avoid Politics

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

For those who live and breathe politics, it's hard to let go after the intensity of an election. Months and months of addictively following every hint of breaking news or analysis gave way to often raw emotions as the votes were finally counted.

I speak from personal experience. After every election, my wife says it takes about a month for me to detox enough to engage in normal society. With Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks after Election Day, that naturally creates some tension.

So, as the holiday season approaches, I'd like to remind the politically obsessed that hardly anybody else shares their obsession. Just 12 percent of voters discuss politics on a daily basis, and only 6 percent have volunteered for a campaign. They don't know or care about some of the things that dominated the political dialogue in September and October.

Two-thirds (64 percent) of all voters discuss politics only occasionally, rarely or never. This can be frustrating for those who think that politics is so important that everybody should follow it all the time. But even in the 21st century, the old rules of never discussing politics or religion still make sense. When family and friends with different political views gather for a feast, 81 percent of voters simply try to avoid talking politics.

Recognizing this, political junkies can appreciate Thanksgiving as a time to learn from those who have a healthier perspective on the proper role of politics in society. Perhaps the most important lesson is that politics and politicians don't run the nation. Sixty-eight percent of voters recognize that culture and technology in America lead the nation forward, while politics and government lag behind.

Additionally, 65 percent understand that just about all positive change in America begins outside of the political system -- and far from the halls of power in Washington, D.C. A survey found that just 22 percent disagree and 14 percent are not sure.

Rather than inappropriately elevating the role of politics, 94 percent believe that giving to charity is a better use of money than giving to a political campaign. Beyond that, 61 percent believe that new technologies will have a bigger impact on our future than the federal government will. This view is shared by people of all ages, all races, from all parts of the country and across all partisan lines.

I expand on these themes in my latest book, "The Sun is Still Rising: Politics Has Failed But America Will Not." Understanding the proper role of politics is the reason I can be so optimistic about our nation's future despite being very pessimistic about our broken political system.

If you're looking for things to be thankful for during this holiday season, celebrate the fact that politicians and their agendas do not determine the fate of the nation. We can be especially thankful that individual Americans are committed to creating a better world by using their freedom to work together in community.

And, unlike the divisive world of politics, this commitment to individual freedom is a unifying force in our society. Ninety-three percent of voters agree with a sentiment sometimes referred to as the American Creed: Every American should have the right to live their own life as they see fit, so long as they respect the rights of others to do the same.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Scott Rasmussen is the publisher of He is the author of "The Sun Is Still Rising: Politics Has Failed But America Will Not."

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