Tomorrow, most of the nation will pause to give thanks and spend time with friends, family and loved ones. For some of you who apparently spend more time soaking in the political pool than is good for your mental health, this apparently creates a number of challenges. It’s become something of an annual tradition for authors to offer sage advice on how you can “survive” Thanksgiving if you are forced to share a meal with family members who don’t share your political persuasions. You find examples everywhere, and it’s not just conservatives versus liberals or Democrats against Republicans. There are guides out there telling you how to “survive” dinner if you’re a vegan.
Twitter is chock full of such dispensers of wisdom.
Good morning to all the white women out there with Trump-voting relatives. Today you’re using the pre-Thanksgiving hours to rehearse talking points for the dinner table tomorrow to do some work breaking down systemic racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc. right!?
— Alex Berg (@itsalexberg) November 21, 2018
From the folks at the @CBSNewsPoll: of 1,103 surveyed, 40% have no appetite for discussing politics at their Thanksgiving Dinner table. 45% don't care. Only 15% say they look forward to it. Feel free to discuss this poll at dinner. pic.twitter.com/t3owXhPDbk
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 21, 2018
Predictably, the New York Times was ready to help the progressive masses cope with their Trump-loving relatives.
Don’t mention President Trump
A SurveyMonkey audience poll conducted last year found that Mr. Trump was the biggest culprit in hijacking Thanksgiving dinner, with 37 percent of respondents saying mention of the president was most likely to start an argument.
The feeling cut across party lines, with Mr. Trump the most common answer among self-identified Democrats, Republicans and independents.
(If you’re wondering: In 2014, 11 percent of Americans indicated that President Barack Obama was most likely to spur an argument.)
Allow me to offer a slightly different perspective. We, as humans, spend a significant portion of our collective effort attempting to solve problems which we created for ourselves. You have zero need to discuss anything to do with politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table. If somebody brings it up, the rest of the group can agree to give them an exasperated look, mixed with comments along the lines of, “Really? We’re trying to eat dinner.”
If the rest of the family isn’t inclined to go along with the no-politics policy, pick your plate up and go into another room to eat and flip on the television. I bet there’s a football game on. It might just give the rest of them a clue.
And if you’re the one who suddenly feels the urge to chime in on the relative evil or greatness of the President, you have a safety mechanism at hand. Grab your fork, pick up a big chunk of turkey, potatoes and stuffing and shove it in your mouth. Be sure to chew your food at least fifteen times before swallowing so you can enjoy every morsel. In other words, shut up.
It’s Thanksgiving. You don’t need to convert everyone to your cause, nor do you need to tolerate others trying to do so to you. This isn’t a problem unless you participate in making it one. Be thankful. Remember that you are surrounded by the people who are supposed to be your most fundamental support network, just as you are supposed to be part of theirs. This isn’t long division, people. Eat drink and be merry for at least once per year.