I’m the inexplicable presence in the room, a specimen of something that shouldn’t be. How in the world can an educated person—a teacher, for goodness’ sake—back such a stupid, bigoted, alpha-male blowhard? That’s the question that won’t go away. My mother will talk about his macho manner. My sister will recount the latest fumbles by his Cabinet. My nephew and his wife will fret over what he’ll do to science. Everything runs smoothly until I say, “Didn’t you love Trump’s speech in Warsaw? Isn’t it great to have a leader willing to praise Western civilization?”

That does it. The communal spell is broken. I’ve ruined Thanksgiving. Forget the Warsaw speech—it’s the bare fact of dissent that counts. My mother will wrinkle her brow and mutter, “Oh, gawd.” The millennials at the table will go blank (Western civilization was dropped as a school subject before they were born). My sister shall return to Trump pulling back on environmental regulation, which she regards as abominable.

I imagine similar scenes at holiday tables all across America.