How to Deal with Awkward Political Conversations around the Thanksgiving Table

Blessing of God Nothing says the holidays like…  the President issuing talking points for holiday political conversations.

Yep. The White House press secretary Josh Earnest urged Americans to talk about politics over the holiday.

“As people are sitting around the Thanksgiving table, talking about these issues, as they should, and as I’m sure they will, all across the country, I hope that’s a question that will be raised, and asked by members around the table—that if we’re going to have a serious discussion in this country about national security, let’s talk about some pretty obvious things that Congress can do.”

He went on to say that liberals could bring up gun control as they passed the turkey.  For example, they might ask that crazy right wing uncle why lawmakers shouldn’t  “pass a law that would prevent somebody who’s on the terror watch list from being able to buy a gun.”

Not to be outdone, the liberal website Vox also produced a handy guide to just about everything.  Called “How to Survive Your Family’s Thanksgiving Arguments,” it tells Democrats exactly what to say about ISIS, Syria, Donald Trump, and #BlackLivesMatter should these topics come up. David French, over at National Review, describes the phenomenon:

We feel compelled to correct perceived error – even at a once-a-year family gathering — because we are nothing more than the sum total of our opinions.

Actions? What are those? Sure, my cranky uncle has worked two jobs to put his kids through college, but he’s a vocal Donald Trump supporter and has to be punished. So what if my prickly aunt is handling chronic and painful illness with dignity and courage — she thinks global warming isn’t real, and in the three hours we have together, I’m going to introduce her to this little thing called “science.”

And then suggests a different tactic:

In response to those difficult conversations, try a bit of grace. Strive for reconciliation. Understand that people are more than politics…

Mercy at the Thanksgiving table means not dropping the hammer on a condescending Millennial niece. Grace means striving to find a way to help make her Thanksgiving more meaningful and enjoyable — by treating her with kindness and taking a genuine interest in her life, especially her life outside her talking points.

I’m not naïve enough to believe that grace always leads to reconciliation or joyful family holidays. After all, if the world rejected — and even executed — the perfect expression of grace, how can we expect our own acts of grace to be well-received? But if we’re reaching the point where we’re urging people to use family gatherings as political platforms, we’ve lost our way.

Thanksgiving gives us the rare opportunity to show love and hospitality to those with differing opinions.

Don’t squander it on talking points.

In fact, you might want to bypass politics altogether and focus on each others’ lives.

Your family will remain long after you’ve forgotten the name of President Obama’s press secretary.

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