How to Talk Turkey and Trump over Thanksgiving Dinner

DIN-NER! Time to eat!

It’s time for holiday dinner and your family is gathered ‘round. Blessings have been said acknowledging everyone’s safe travel and arrival; the Thanksgiving feast complete with turkey and all the trimmings cover the table, and then 8-yr-old Pat utters one fateful phrase, “This sweet potato pie is the color of Donald Trump’s hair.”

Everyone hold’s their breath; horror clearly on their stricken faces. Dinner time is no time to talk politics! Nor the place!

But then Grandma to the rescue. In a calm, pleasant voice she chimes in, “Please pass the butter.” Sweetly, kindly, before another phrase is uttered, she repeats, “Please pass the butter.”

Then with a smile on her face, Grandma redirects the conversation, “Now, who can pass around those rolls?”

A collective sigh of relief is heard when no one takes the “elephant-in-the-room” bait, and a potential political calamity is avoided.

Now THAT’s how you talk politics over Thanksgiving dinner. You put it off for another time. And, here are 4 ways to casually side-step  that awkward political talk:

1. Politics should be a one-to-one conversation

Resist the urge to talk politics in a group. Conversation around the table can quickly get out-of-mouth-and-hand. Even “safe” topics, i.e. saving the endangered African Elephant, will spark relatives ready to argue the other side. Save that conversation for a time when you’re NOT ready to enjoy a holiday meal. Simply say to that person, “I so enjoy political discussions when there’s just the two of us. Why don’t we save that talk for after dinner?”

2. You can always reschedule a discussion

There’s always someone who wants to talk politics over turkey but no rule that says you have to. Kick that conversation down the road, after pie and coffee, and the football game, and the movie, or whenever appropriate. Say this, “I’d love to hear what you have to say but don’t have time now to listen. How about we pick-up this discussion when everyone else has gone? Or perhaps tomorrow?”

3. Politics is a “To Be Continued…” topic

When the conversation “goes there,” meaning it turns to Donald Trump, allow everyone to express their beliefs. Trump-lovers and Trump-haters will both need to vent! And they won’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. Seek dialog and common ground, not solutions necessarily. Nothing has to be resolved now, no one has to be persuaded, no actions have to be taken in this moment. This dialog can be interrupted, rescheduled, and revisited many times down the road. Life goes on; don’t let politics ruin the day.

4. Expect it to get LOUD

People passionately love or hate the President, the parties, and the issues. And “passion” equals volume. Each one of us believes what we do based on our education, our experience, and our intellect. When people feel safe to express their views, and they passionately agree or disagree with a topic, voices and volumes will rise. It’s going to get loud! Volume is a sign of intensity; rate of speech is an indicator of intensity. Bulging veins in red faces are a dead give-away that the conversation is intense!!

Just remember, when the conversation gets too heated, you can always redirect. Put a smile on your face, turn to the person next to you, and with a pleasant tone of voice at a reasonable level of volume say, “Please pass the butter.”

 

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