By Nina Franco
Everyone is excited to return home for the holidays and spend time with family and friends, but no one is ready to embrace political conversation with family at the Christmas dinner table. However, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, it will most likely become a topic of conversation. My parents always told me, there are three things you never talk about with anyone, “Politics, religion, and money”, but we all know your grandpa is going to bring up Trump at some point during the festivities, and someone will most likely fire back. This election has taught us something about hateful rhetoric on both sides from, “basket of deplorables” to “grab them by the p*ssy”, our presidential candidates,as well as ourselves, have lost their ability to listen to others with different opinions and work toward mutual benefit. Here are some tips to remain intelligent, thoughtful, appropriate, and accepting of others opinions when talking politics this holiday season.
- Let your grandpa finish what he has to say before you butt in with information about statistics you found on the internet.
I know it pains you to listen to your elders go on and on about their beliefs, but give them a shot, they’ve been alive longer than you, and no statistic can compare to their personal experiences. Also, newsflash, those family members from the Baby Boomer generation might be lacking in internet skills; they can barely open an email, and you want them to check out the New York Times political fact-checking section online?
- Don’t speak as though you’re right, speak up for what you believe
Don’t push your points on others, but rather, state what you believe and attach a personal reason why. Don’t say, “Pro-Choice supporters are baby killers!”, or “Trickle-down economics is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, trumped up truckle down” instead try, “I am Pro-Life because I believe in the right to life for everyone”, or “I think our economic system should not be in favor of simply those at the top, but everyone”. I know it’s going to be hard to hold in screaming, “Hillary for Prison” or “Trump is a Fascist”, but you will benefit a lot more from the conversation if you sound intelligent, and hear out both sides of the story.
- Shut up and Listen!
DO NOT TALK OVER PEOPLE, SIMPLE AS THAT. It is hard I know, it isn’t like your Kindergarten teacher is passing around the talking stick anymore so, you have full freedom to shout whatever you want whenever, but that’s just rude. Plus, if you don’t listen to what a family member is saying, and instead, just prepare what you’re going to say next, you have not learned anything.
- Don’t throw anything, when you don’t know anything
Comments such as: “Obama is a Muslim”
“Trump goes on coffee dates with Vladimir Putin”
“Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer”
“Bernie Sanders is the GOAT! Pence is an actual goat, like the animal”
are all invalid. Don’t make comments that you either clearly know are incorrect or you have no information to back them up with because you will just sound dumb.
- Put yourself in the shoes of others
Consider you may be talking to someone who has or knows someone close to them who is a member of the LGBTQ community, lost a home during the 2008 mortgage crisis, had an abortion, is an immigrant, lost a job, or holds strong religious values. Take into account that their personal circumstances may affect their political opinions, and be respectful of that.