Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner kicked off the annual holiday season of family get-togethers, visits with the relatives and fellowship around the dinner table.
But this year, and this will continue to be an issue through Christmas, New Year’s and other holiday gatherings, some households will be filled with tension and division mirroring the state of our nation in the aftermath of Election 2016. How can you survive a big side dish of partisan rancor along with your turkey leftovers or your holiday ham? Here are a few thoughts:
Start with ensuring that you have plenty of food and wine (although the liberals in your family might think that you are being wasteful). Also make sure you provide a “safe space” in the house where guests can find refuge if the political conversation gets too heated.
You can try keeping the conversation light, talking about college football or the latest recipe online, but there is a high probability that the conversation will quickly shift to politics. Things will be going swimmingly until your liberal Aunt Ruth turns to you and asks, “How could you? How could you vote for THAT man for president?”
Before responding, take a deep breath. No need for all-out political war. Calmly respond, “Trump understood the working man and woman of America and the need for change in Washington.”
She: “But do you realize America does not want him as president? I mean Hillary is winning the popular vote. The Electoral College must be eliminated!”
You: “The Electoral College was established under Article 2 of the Constitution so that all states could play a role in selecting the president. This avoids presidents being elected from just the most populous states or regions. In other words, without the Electoral College, Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump would only spend time campaigning in the big states of Texas, New York or California.”
That’s when your progressive millennial cousin Helen, still wearing her faded Bernie Sanders’ blue T-shirt, chimes in: “Your President-elect Mr. Trump is a racist, sexist misogynist.” (This is a common debating tactic of the left — name-calling, an approach that is both ineffective and annoying.)
Don’t take the bait. Respond gently: “Mr. Trump will work hard to be the president of all Americans. He is focused on rebuilding inner-city communities and restoring economic prosperity. He actually will find common ground with the progressives in Congress like Senator Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren on issues like trade and infrastructure spending.”
Helen: “But what about climate change? Mr. Trump thinks it’s a hoax.”
You (still gently): “Don’t despair, my carbon-footprint friend. Mr. Trump just acknowledged that there is ‘some connectivity between human activity and climate change.’”
Then remind your cousin that Mr. Trump actually can bring back jobs to America, that she might finally be able to move out of her parents’ basement and afford her own health insurance. Your efforts to turn away wrath may not suffice, but just think — after eating all that pumpkin pie, by then it will be just about time for everyone to leave.
Remember — even though two weeks have passed since the election, emotions are still raw and the protests continue in the streets. For your aunt and cousin, Mr. Trump will not be their president, but it’s OK. The polls and the mainstream media predicted that Mrs. Clinton would win, and they failed the liberals.
Reality will eventually triumph. Mr. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States in January, and he will push an aggressive agenda for our economy and national security through Congress. And America will survive and prosper, just like your holiday dinner. Bid a magnanimous farewell to your aunt and your cousin as they drive away in their Toyota Prius, and have faith that next year’s feast will be a little more festive.
• Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News contributor, co-founder of Cove Strategies and former White House director of specialty media under President George W. Bush.
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