Russian literary giant Leo Tolstoy opened his now
classic work Anna Karenina with the words “Happy families are all
alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” If this is
true, the people of the U.S. today are truly uniquely unhappy.
In talking to voters throughout this election cycle, I have heard
that the traditional holiday dinner, where family
memberssmileindulgently and affectionately at each other’s
foibleshas often given way to comparisons with the American Civil
War and talk of dividing up the union, as no matter who wins, half
of the country will feel disaffected.
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), some members of the same
family took opposite sides in the conflict, resulting in brother
fighting brother, quite literally.
Yet we have a very good example in U.S. history of feuding families
coming together for the common good--- none other than the Hatfields
and the McCoys. These two families, living along the West Virginia
and Kentucky borders, were engaged in a legendary feud from
1863-1891 involving a great loss of life for both families. You may
know, and others might be surprised to learn, that they not only
buried the proverbial hatchet, but now annually sponsor the Hatfield
McCoy Marathon which you can read about at http://www.hatfieldmccoymarathon.net/
You’ll notice their slogan right across the middle of their home
page which says “No Feudin’ – just Running.”
The Hatfields and McCoys have surely created a successful formula
for putting the “fun” back into dysfunctional family relations.
As there has beena tradition of rallying around the
newly elected president for the good of the country, the candidates
might do well to take a cue from the Hatfields and McCoys. They
don’t necessarily need to copy the marathon; one thought I had would
be the type of fun activity often held at outdoor fairs during the
summer. The potato sack race, in which partners each put one leg
into the same potato sack and thus must co-operate to arrive at the
finish line, could surely be a sign of unity.
As a hat designer, it occurs to me that a creative hat contest with
a unity theme would also be a good idea, although Mr. Trump may
already have a head start… pardon the pun.
If you have a suggestion for a charming activity to bring the
candidates and country together, send an e-mail to me at email@example.com.