Fighting with family over Thanksgiving weekend is a time-honored American tradition. We so expect this holiday to involve conflict that organizations and media outlets annually offer tips on how to win, survive, and dodge fights, or at least predict them. Thanksgiving squabbles arguably launch a whole season of tension with loved ones as you navigate who will spend the holidays where, who will bake the cookies, and why you’re the only family member not supporting a left-/right-wing moron for the 2020 election.

But the season need not be an argument-filled disaster. Even in these polarized times, we may find ourselves hearing out what others have to say — maybe even deciding we were the wrong ones, and changing our minds.

In that spirit of resolution, the Inquirer opinion team collected essays from eight locals who changed their minds on issues big and small. Their essays are below — and we want to hear your stories too. If you’d like to write about a change of mind or heart, email opinion@inquirer.com.

ON RELIGION AND SEXUALITY

“My desire was to focus on God wholeheartedly, without being distracted by the temptations that be. But this was all happening while I carried the heavy truth that I am gay, was in denial about it, and had all intention of forever internalizing it.”

Lauren D’Auria of South Philadelphia

Brendon Jobs, director of diversity & inclusion at The Haverford School, on campus November 20, 2019. Jobs reflects on this different ways he's defined racism throughout his life.
Jessica Welsh
Brendon Jobs, director of diversity & inclusion at The Haverford School, on campus November 20, 2019. Jobs reflects on this different ways he's defined racism throughout his life.

ON RACISM

“Before this September, I believed that black people could not be racist because we did not have power to wield racism as a tool.”

Brendon Jobs of the Haverford School

ON TRANSIT

“Every now and then during my long abstinence from SEPTA, I’d take the subway to the Palestra at Penn, to Temple or Drexel, or to the stadiums in South Philadelphia, and I would marvel at how the subway almost always outpaced a taxi destined for the same place on the streets above. Still, I kept driving.”

Bill Marimow, vice president of strategic development for The Inquirer

Constance Garcia-Barrio, bottom right, with her mother, top right, at a 1975 grad school celebration.
Courtesy of Constance Garcia-Barrio
Constance Garcia-Barrio, bottom right, with her mother, top right, at a 1975 grad school celebration.

ON PARENTS

“'I’m so happy!' I told Mom, when I got a master’s degree. She shrugged. ‘Now you need a Ph.D.’"

Constance Garcia-Barrio, Philadelphia-based freelance writer

ON GOVERNING

“Had I the courage to hang in there and continue fighting for my original proposal, the state of Pennsylvania would have raised an extra $417 Million a year and since 2003 would have raised an additional $28 billion.”

Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania

Will Bunch at 801 Market Street, in Philadelphia, November 20, 2019.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Will Bunch at 801 Market Street, in Philadelphia, November 20, 2019.

ON BASEBALL

“Like most acts of stunning betrayal, I can still tell you exactly where I was when it happened – on the Schuylkill Expressway, on that steep bank overlooking Manayunk that always moves at 5 mph – and the exact time of day: 1:30 p.m.”

Will Bunch, national opinion columnist for the Inquirer

ON TREATING ADDICTION

“Since Feb. 24, 2007, I have been living in abstinence-based recovery. When I first heard about the notion of a supervised injection site as a way to fight Philly’s opioid epidemic, the approach struck me as high-minded, but hopelessly naive.”

Kevin Riordan, staff writer for the Inquirer’s editorial board

ON CIVIC DUTY

“When I moved to Philadelphia, I knew only my world in Ohio. Then the entire country was rocked by tragedy. Trying to hold onto the life I’d had before became secondary.”

Talia Stinson, research analyst