The Top 5 2013 Political Topics to Avoid at Thanksgiving Dinner

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It's Not Like This Anymore
In this age of pluralistic families, we are likely to encounter at our family Thanksgiving dinners folks of all political stripes. Perhaps you have a very conservative uncle/nephew/father, who thinks Obama is a raging socialist. Perhaps your younger sister is coming back from college imbued with a new sense of what justice in the world means. Maybe your aunt recently came out and she is bringing her new "friend" over to meet the family for the first time.

In other words, Thanksgiving -- food and alcohol galore -- is a veritable powder keg. Add politics to the mix and you are likely to light the fuse. So here are some topics you might want to avoid this Thanksgiving.

5. The Catch-All: Obama/Cruz/Washington/Crooks/Tea Party/Socialists

This topic comes up after the alcohol has really started to flow later into the night. And it's not even a topic per se, it's just a drunken stray remark that, if even one person picks up on, has started a full-blown incoherent, drunken, neither side knows what the hell they're talking about argument. You just want to watch the frickin' Steelers-Ravens or UT play Tech, and now this.

Now, given the time of night, you have permission to raise your voice: "Guys, you [conservative/liberal family members] are not going to convince them that you're right about [insert issue here] tonight! Science has proven this! So let's just watch football, the end!"

You just saved Thanksgiving.

4. Guns/Gun Control

Newtown is coming up on a sad one-year anniversary, and there seems to be another "active shooter" story every month. But people feel very strongly about their guns, or lack thereof. So, over turkey, someone inevitably says: "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Now, over turkey and gravy and wine, is not the time to debate the metaphysical veracity of this statement and the causation of gun deaths.

Instead, stick the mechanics of guns. Talk about guns themselves. People who own guns love to talk about their particular gun or the gun they're going to buy. It's like asking a car guy about cars: "What gun are you buying yourself for Christmas, Uncle Gary?" "Why do you want that gun?" "What makes that gun better than the other ones?" Now, tune out for 10 minutes, nod your head occasionally and congratulate yourself for keeping the peace.


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2 comments
Christina Morgan
Christina Morgan

Steer clear of politics and religion. It's just the smart thing to do.

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