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Yes, You CAN Talk Politics At Your Thanksgiving Table And Preserve Family Relations!

Here's How....



> Excerpts from the November 10, 2016 personal-website post of Dr. Linus DePaul entitled:

When It Comes To Talking Politics At Your Thanksgiving Table, Don't Cry Foul Or Just Wing It: Do It The Dr. Linus DePaul Way


Dr. Linus DePaul

You may not believe your crazy uncle is playing with a full deck when he launches into his perennial diatribe about partisan politics at the dinner table, however, this Thanksgiving, you can force him to play with a full deck and at least ensure fair play for one and all.

So says, Dr. Linus DePaul, professor emeritus of Humanities of Stanford University who's developed a unique and entertaining way in which to make Thanksgiving-table debates all the memorable and less casualty-inflicting.

"After have spent more than 40 years researching this matter, it wasn't until after I retired that I finally figured out what the exact problems were with talking politics at the Thanksgiving table," Dr. DePaul said. "Some family members try to dominate the discussion and override the opinions of others, thus abrogating all sense of fair play and rubbing people the wrong way much too caustically."

For that reason, the acclaimed professor developed "The DePaul Thanksgiving Day Dinner Fair-Play Political Debate Rules".

"Since instituting this method at my own family's Thanksgiving table over the past decade," Dr. Paul began, "our holidays have been all the more memorable, enlightening, and entertaining. And to think it all was inspired by Uncle Willie's fateful refusal to stop playing Solitaire at the table during our Thanksgiving meal 12 years ago! For that's all you need to use my method: an ordinary deck of playing cards."




"My method of Fair Debating is similar to the principle of Fair Fighting: It's even-handed: Everybody has a chance to have his/her say, and nobody can dominate the tableside political discussions," Dr. DePaul explained. "It's best to sell this method to your family members by describing it as a game. That way, they'll take it it like ducks to water and even the most caustic partisan comments are more likely not to faze them and roll like water off of a duck's back, too. But you really do have to lay down some ground rules. For instance, each round, the role of moderator will be rotated to the next player. Otherwise, if one fair-minded family member wants to sit out the entire debate and merely moderate it, all the better."

Here's how you can employ Dr. DePaul's Method:

First, choose a moderator for the round who will be responsible for timing speakers' comments.

Second, choose a player to act as Fact Checker. He/She will need to have his/her phone or laptop computer nearby for fact-checking.

Next, get a deck of regular playing cards, remove the Jokers, and divide the cards into their four suits. If you anticipate having more than four politics debaters at your Thanksgiving table, then you'll need an extra deck or two. Then give each tableside debater his/her hand of 13 cards: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, and King.

Numerical cards (2-10) dictate the number of minutes one may speak on his/her individual turn. For example, one may play the 2 card to speak for up to 2 minutes. At the same time, if he/she wants to extend his/her speaking time beyond that time in minutes dictated by the card he/she played, then he must forfeit his/her highest value numerical card. This will only extend his/her playing time NOT for the time dictated by the number of the forfeited card BUT for the time dictated by the initial number card he/she played on his/her turn.

The Ace can be played as either a Numerical card (whose numerical value in minutes is equal to your highest numerical card in hand) OR it can be played as an Interrupt card.

Example: Player A plays the numerical 3 card but toward the end of his/her 3 minutes, decides to extend his/her speaking time. Therefore, Player A plays his/her highest numerical card in his hand to extend his speaking time another 3 minutes. The catch: If he/she uses up all of his numerical cards, then he/she won't be able to do anything except play Interrupt cards.

The Jack, Queen, and King are the primary Interrupt cards which can be played at any time to interrupt a speaker in order to:

Interject a 1-minute point of information or a 1-minute rebuttal.

To challenge the veracity of a point made by the current speaker by asking the table moderator to Google the matter using his phone or nearby laptop computer. The Fact Checker will have to determine whether the point in contention is True or False. Otherwise, the Fact Checker can simply render it a Moot Point if the point in contention cannot be confirmed to be provably true or false to any appreciable degree.

An Interrupt card's one-minute time-limit speaking time may be extended for an additional minute for every Numerical or Interrupt Card you forfeit. (Only, you don't have to sacrifice your higher value Numerical cards to do so.)

Again, an Ace can be played as an Interrupt card.

There is a Filibuster option whereby one could on his/her turn play all of his/her Numerical cards during that term to have an extended speaking option. Of course, thereafter, he/she would only be left with only Interrupt cards and would naturally forfeit his normal speaking turn (until such time that he/she chose to play an Interrupt card or until the next round).

The round ends when 3 of the 4 players have discarded all of their Numerical cards but that round continues until the last player has taken his/her turn. (If there are only 3 players, then the round would begin again after 2 of the 3 players have discarded all their Numerical cards). For 5 players, when 3 have discarded all their cards. For 6-7 players, when 4 players have discarded all their cards. For 8 players, when 5 players have discarded all their cards.

The moderator of the next round will determine whether to continue the current topic; to change to a new topic; or to return to a previous topic. (Previous topics can only be discussed for 3 three consecutive or non-consecutive rounds of play.)

"The DePaul Way is the safest and sanest way to ensure your Thanksgiving tableside conversations will be fun, invigorating, and memorable," Dr. DePaul said. "I challenge one and all to consider adopting it as your family intervention way of preserving all semblance of peace at your own holiday table. You'll be even more thankful afterwards."















> Excerpts from the November 21, 2016 Vogue magazine news story by Patricia Garcia entitled:

Yes, You Can Survive This Thanksgiving, Even If Your Family Voted Differently Than You



Among the many things that this year’s Presidential election uncovered is that when it comes to political beliefs, our country is more divided than ever. While around half of American citizens have celebrated the election of Donald Trump as our new president-elect, the other half have spent the last two weeks steadily proceeding through each of Kübler-Ross’s five stages of grief. And as much as we may wish it were otherwise, those same divisions extend through families, as well. With Thanksgiving just a few days away, many of us are concerned about how to sit down and share a long meal with those who might have voted for the opposing side.

I’ll admit I’m one of those people. I am absolutely dreading Thanksgiving this year. I’m well aware that between my husband and I, there are a few family members who voted for Trump, and while I believe in having the freedom to vote for whomever you please, the brutal campaign season, filled, as it was, with hateful and misogynist rhetoric, has made it difficult to not take politics personally. But, not one to cancel travel plans at the last minute, I’ll still be heading down to Florida (of all places) to spend the holidays. And so I decided to call in professional help. First, I sought advice on how to deal with the impending uncomfortable family gatherings from Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and the beloved advice column “Dear Sugar,” for her wisdom.

In terms of how those still feeling the sting of Hillary Clinton’s defeat should discuss the election results with family members, Strayed suggested it would be best to avoid the topic entirely.

“One of the things I’ve been struck by is how many of my friends who voted for Hillary Clinton describe their disappointment over the election results in very personal terms: They’re crying; they feel devastated; they’re grieving. They are experiencing a real loss. I feel the same way. My heart hurts,” wrote Strayed via email. “My advice for those with family members who feel differently about the election is to decide not to discuss it—and to be explicit about that decision, to say it out loud, rather than just avoiding it. The reason that phrase ‘We’re going to agree to disagree’ is so popular is that it works. Agreeing to disagree is, after all, agreeing on something.”

Strayed also suggested that families focus on the positive aspects of their lives to counteract all of the negativity that we’ve seen unfold in the media.

“Once you set aside a conversation that will only bring conflict, anger, and sorrow, you make room for conversations about other parts of our lives. Work, romantic relationships and friendships, the trips we took this past year, the books we’ve read and movies we’ve seen—these are all great fodder for conversations that are more likely to reveal common ground and a sense of goodwill,” said Strayed. She also recommended asking each family member to share what they are most grateful for this year. “The only rule is the answer can’t be Donald Trump,” she added.

But what if you’ve decided to spend Thanksgiving with your in-laws?

While it may be easier to openly speak your mind with your own parents, the rules can be different when you’re a guest. Strayed proposed: To those who feel they won’t be able to keep from arguing at the table, simply skip the holiday this year.

“This is not a suggestion that you cut off ties with those people forever, but rather an acknowledgement that there are times we need to take care of our own hearts,” she wrote. “It’s okay to set boundaries to protect ourselves and others from emotional harm. That’s what boundaries are for!”

Taking into consideration that I belong to a family who rarely avoids an argument and certainly isn’t afraid to get loud, I figured I may as well look into a Plan B, in case those carefully constructed boundaries are breached. I called New York divorce lawyer and mediator Lois Brenner, who shared a few tricks on how she keeps things civil between two opposing factions.

“First of all, gather information. In other words, let people state their opinion,” Brenner said. “Second: Listen, listen, listen. Make sure that people know that they are being heard. You don’t have to jump in and answer; you don’t have to disagree with them. People love to be listened to.”

Brenner also recommends verbally acknowledging the other person’s opinions and feelings by using carefully chosen words like, “I understand that you believe so and so.” She stresses that the point of these tips isn’t to change anyone’s opinion, but rather to keep the conversation as respectful as possible. “It’s sort of like religion, you’re not going to change someone from being Protestant to Jewish or vice versa,” she said. “You also don’t want to talk about the past, because you can’t change it. But you can talk about what you want for the future, whatever it is you hope for.”

Of course, if all else fails, a good offense is always the best defense. Head off potentially evening-ruining partygoers at the pass and declare the dinner table a politics-free zone in advance. A coworker recently shared an email she received from her mother in which Thanksgiving guests were warned to refrain from discussing the election in any way, shape, or form. “The rule is that anyone who brings up politics is subject to a $20.00 fine, to be increased by $5.00 increments,” reads the email. “The total (assuming there is one) will be donated to a charity of the hostess’s choice. This will guarantee a happier, more fun Thanksgiving!”

Fingers crossed, Everybody!















> Excerpt from the November 23, 2016 CNN Opinion Commentators article entitled:

How To Survive Post-Election Thanksgiving



Millions of Americans from all walks of life will gather this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, and many find themselves asking what it will be like to gather for the familiar holiday after the divisive experience of Election 2016 and the first weeks of the Trump transition. We asked a diverse group of writers who have shared political commentary this year to offer their thoughts on how to navigate our national day of thanks this year. The views expressed here are their own.



Dean Obeidallah

Avoid Having To "Scrape Stuffing Out Of Your Hair"

This Thanksgiving could be less a family gathering and more a scene from the movie "Fight Club." That is at least if your dinner guests include supporters of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Emotions are still raw and tempers are still simmering.

Now, in the case of my family, we may get angry but only in trying to make a point of how much we all detest Trump. But for families more politically diverse, the only hope at avoiding a good ole fashion food fight is to not talk politics. Instead focus on things that bring you together, such as how much you hope the Dallas Cowboys will lose badly on Thanksgiving. (At least my New York Giants-rooting family will be doing that.) Or actually talk about what you are thankful for this holiday season, from health of family members to personal accomplishments to the fact Trump is limited by the Constitution to a max of eight years in the White House.

For most families, though, this Thanksgiving is truly a choice of either avoiding talking politics or having your Thanksgiving dinner resemble a "Real Housewives of New Jersey"-type brawl. True, the latter is more fun, but it's never fun scraping turkey stuffing out of your hair.

(Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, writes frequently for CNN. He is co-director of the documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!" editor of the politics blog "The Dean's Report" and a columnist for the Daily Beast.)





Brett J. Talley

"Practice Some Humility"

Holiday gatherings can be stressful even without the most contentious election in modern history. My family is as strong-willed, stubborn and opinionated as they come (I get it honestly), and I won't condescend to you and tell you how to handle yours. But if you're asking, I'll give you the advice I follow myself. When you get the urge to correct, to teach, to instruct, to enlighten -- don't. Practice some humility instead. Assume, for a second, that your position might not always be right, that you might not know everything, that the life experiences of others might have led them to a different truth than the one you hold so dear.

Now that doesn't mean you aren't right. Uncle Gary might not be just wrong but dead wrong. But ask yourself this: Does it matter? Those people at the table, the ones who sometimes can drive you up a wall? You love them, and they won't be around forever. When Granny breathes her last, it won't really matter whether you got in the final word on the value of trade, or the beauty of diversity, or that the cast of "Hamilton" really were being rude to a guest. But the moments you spend together will matter. They transcend party and politics, and they are far more important than either. And if you can take that love and apply it to the rest of your life, to your friends and co-workers as well as your family, then we can start to rebuild the civility that should bind us all, no matter where we come from or what we believe.

(Brett J. Talley is a lawyer, author, one-time writer for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign and former speechwriter for Sen. Rob Portman. He is deputy solicitor general at the office of Alabama's attorney general.)





Angela Pupino

Survive When "My Two Americas Collide Once More"

I'm the first person in my family to go to college, so I'm used to navigating delicate dinner table conversations. As an international relations major, I discovered freshman year that most of my family doesn't want to hear me talk about schools of international relations theory or colonization in the Congo. Explaining to a relative why calling someone an "illegal alien" is not okay often leaves both of us unhappy. My relatives have no frame of reference when I talk about my friends who are Muslim, non-gender binary or undocumented, so conversation quickly become awkward. My life is emblematic of how this nation has been cleaved into two distinct worlds. I have my life at a politically engaged East Coast college and my life in my working-class Rust Belt hometown.

This holiday season, my two Americas are going to collide once more.

So, how do I plan on surviving my time at home during the holidays? I'm going to focus on the quiet moments with my family. I'm going to play with my little brother, cook dinner for my father and hug my grandmother. I'm going to eat too much food, go to the mall with my aunt and hang out with my sister. There are a million ways a relative could say something offensive while we're together, a throwaway racial slur, a backhanded derogatory comment against gay people or a political statement about the greatness of our next president. And when they do, I will engage with them. I will try my best to see their point of view and help them to see mine. But I'm not going to seek out a fight, and I will do everything in my power to have a great time with them. Come January, I will begin my semester abroad, and it will be months until I can be with them again. Plenty of people cannot stand their families. I don't want to be one of them.

(Angela Pupino is a junior at American University and a fall writing fellow for the Center for Community Change Action.)





Roxanne Jones

Don't Let Politics Poison Your Turkey

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday of the year, no matter who is sitting in the White House. It's not that I love the Black Friday frenzy that's taken over the holiday, nor the need to commemorate the day the Pilgrims took time off from slaughtering Native Americans to sit down and share a meal. As wonderful as that tale sounded in grade school, it just never seemed cause for celebration, because even children understand how that bloody story played out for America's indigenous tribes.

No, for me Thanksgiving is about celebrating family, friends and community and giving thanks to God -- in good years and bad -- that we've all made it back to the dinner table. We remember loved ones who have passed and help those who have less on this holiday weekend. There's no stress to out-shop anyone, dress fancy, or wow dinner guests with your latest success. Won't work. The only way to truly impress me is to top Aunt Rosie's mac and cheese, or Grandma's pecan pie, two things that will never happen.

These are anxious days for America. Many of us still are walking around shell-shocked from the hate and fear-mongering we just witnessed during the presidential election season. But "puff up," as I often tell my son. Regardless of who we call President, each one of us still has work to do every single day to improve ourselves, support our families and communities, and, hopefully leave this world a better place than when we arrived. President-elect Trump changes none of those responsibilities. So this year especially, I am humbled and thankful for my blessings and I will continue to allow love to trump hate in my life. Happy Thanksgiving.

(Roxanne Jones is a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and a former vice president at ESPN. She was named a 2010 Woman of the Year by Women in Sports and Events, is a co-author of "Say It Loud: An Illustrated History of the Black Athlete," and CEO of the Push Marketing Group.)





Ruth Ben-Ghiat

"We Are Entering Into A New Phase"

On November 9, I woke up and looked out the window. Everything looked the same. And yet everything had changed. I looked at the Freedom Tower, and I thought about how differently our presidential candidates thought about America's future. Greater protection of diversity and inclusion had just lost out to defense against that diversity in the name of restoring America's strength.

As we gather with our friends and family this Thanksgiving, these two starkly contrasting visions of America may seem impossible to reconcile. Some families will have an empty chair at their table, the fruit of political disagreements too strong to permit physical togetherness. Other families will agree to avoid the subject of politics. Still others will celebrate or commiserate, the latter perhaps growing closer over a common sense of threat. Will President-elect Donald Trump deport me, or put me into a camp? What's happening to our democracy?

We are entering into a new phase in the life of our country. The stakes are higher than many can imagine. So this Thanksgiving, let us all take a deep breath and a step back. We will need our strength in the coming months and years. And we will need to be clear-eyed and honest with ourselves. We take many things for granted in America. This year, we can reflect about what we are thankful for and how we would feel if those things were lost to us. We can show love and resolve, in the face of hatred driven by fear.

(Ruth Ben-Ghiat is a professor of history and Italian studies at New York University and a cultural critic.)





Jeff Yang

"Look At The Present As Just A Moment In Time"

Thanksgiving in my family has always been the time in which my extended, hugely diverse and predominantly immigrant family gathers together en masse. Many are not Christian, only a handful are white, not all are US citizens, and some of them adamantly refuse to eat turkey, so the holiday's white-Protestant Americana roots end up being slightly lost in translation. But its core message of being thankful for having one another never is.

Most of the younger members of our clan voted one way in the election; we don't know how the older members chose to vote, or even if they voted at all, but based on past precedent, it's likely most voted a different way. And we won't talk about it. We have more important things on the table and around it, for that night at least.

We'll share our memories of the past, and discuss our hopes of the future. On Thanksgiving, we'll look at the present as just a moment — one that will, as all moments do, eventually pass.

(Jeff Yang is the author of "I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action" and editor of the graphic novel anthologies "Secret Identities" and "Shattered.")





Bakari Sellers

Family's Faith Will Offer Renewed Strength

This Thanksgiving, as my family gathers around the table, we will uphold our tradition of paying homage to the heroes before us. From Harriet Tubman to John Lewis, we will express our gratitude for the many sacrifices and roads they paved. And like family tradition, there will be plenty of football to watch and macaroni and cheese to gobble.

However, despite our usual tradition, this year will be vastly different. Sadly, 2016 has sucked.

Thanksgiving's holiday cheer will be replaced by angst and worry. Questions will flood the dining room table. How did this happen? How did she lose? Where do we go from here?

Then without fail, my parents will remind us that we've been through this before. And as our ancestors once said, "You can't fall off the floor."

My parents' eyes don't pop like they used to, after shedding countless tears over the years. And their shoulders aren't as upright, after carrying the burdens of generations past. Yet they smile and say, "Keep the faith. Be the change you want to see and always give a voice to the voiceless."

On Thanksgiving, despite the clouds that hover over our country, my family's faith will offer renewed strength for the many battles ahead. And most important, that distant relative whose date voted for Trump gets no sweet potato pie.

(Bakari Sellers is a former member of the South Carolina legislature.)





Jeff Pearlman

"Look AT The People Who Have Made The Biggest Impact In Your Life"

A couple of days ago my son's elementary school teacher lost her sister after a long and ugly battle with cancer. I had a lengthy discussion with the teacher, and then my son. Emmett, who's 10, and I spoke at length about how hard that must be, what it's like to go through something like that, the toll it takes on a person.

As we sit down as a family for Thanksgiving, I don't want to hear a thing about Donald Trump or Mike Pence or nasty tweets. Honestly, I don't even want to deal with the trivial nature of sports. I like that, on this one day, you can look left and look right and look across the table and stare at the people who have made the biggest impact in your life. You can be thankful for their presence and take solace that you're all together, presumably healthy and happy. That doesn't mean someone's death should make you feel good about yourself. But it can — and should — serve as a reminder that, on this day, you're lucky. And what's a better topic to discuss than your collective good fortune?

(Jeff Pearlman is an author of the new book "Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre." He blogs at jeffpearlman.com; follow him on Twitter.)





Haroon Moghul

If You Can Bring Folks Together, Then You Make Them Talk

This Thanksgiving, many Americans will wonder how many of the things Trump promises he'll deliver on. Will our families be ripped apart? Will our relatives be allowed to visit us? Will we lose the rights to our bodies, to marry who we want, or health insurance for ourselves and our dependents? He promises us jobs, but guarantees tax cuts for the wealthy; for the many of us who live paycheck to paycheck, it's very possible life is about to get a lot harder. Fewer dollars from the well-to-do mean even less money for our education and infrastructure.

While the rest of the world races ahead to claim leadership on climate change, we're settling into our own Dark Ages. If your only concern this Thanksgiving will be how to manage Trump and Clinton supporters reunited over cranberries, stuffing and the bitter aftertaste of a vicious campaign, good on you. For to those whom much is given, much is expected. I don't know any Trump supporters personally. I fear some of them, especially the ones who "seig heil" (give the Nazi salute) in the capital of the country that helped defeat Nazism.

Many Trump supporters know nobody like me, and some seem to hate me. So, if you've got the chance to bring folks together to talk, make them talk. And make them hear. You wouldn't tolerate Donald Trump's language at your Thanksgiving table, so why would you vote for it? If it's not OK to talk to your guests that way, how is it OK for him to talk to people that way? If someone came to your home hungry, and in need of food, would you slam the door in his face? Happy Thanksgiving, America. May we not be forced to realize how much we had to be thankful for.

(Haroon Moghul is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy. His next book, "How to be a Muslim," will be out in 2017.)





Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

Step Up Despite The Discomfort

It's time to talk turkey. As we come together at tables across the country this Thursday, some will be mourning, some will be celebrating, some will be organizing, and many will be coming together from multiple perspectives on the election all at the same table -- but no matter what place you're in, the table talk is sure to include the election.

Many of these conversations are going to be tense: The hateful rhetoric that dominated this election cycle has fomented (with good reason) a deep fear among many immigrant families, people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, people of other faiths, LGBT people and disabled communities, and has created tension within many families. We are a deeply divided nation, but that doesn't mean we can't come to the table with our families this Thanksgiving and try to bridge this gap.

Despite the discomfort, we have to step up. After all, our diversity is our nation's strength. The current division hurts our hearts, our families, our economy and our democracy. So what DO you say? Here are some suggestions on how to move the conversation forward across the dinner table and nation:

Simply ask: "What are you thinking about the election?"

Studies show that calling people racist, xenophobic, or sexist often leaves them further entrenched in their point of view. If you truly want to move someone to see your perspective and hear your experience, take a deep breath. Try to listen deeply to understand where they're coming from so you can have a genuine dialogue with a greater likelihood of eliciting empathy. That doesn't mean you've lost your moral compass, just that you're listening. You can (and should!) share your perspective when it's your turn.

When you share your perspective, it's always helpful to share a personal story of how you or a friend has been affected by the election.

And also consider sharing how you've struggled with addressing your own bias: "I've realized that even though I work hard to be against sexism/racism/xenophobia/homophobia/anti-Semitism (pick one), I have work to do. For example, one time, I did __________ and I learned/realized __________. Have you had similar experiences?"

Be aware that the turkey talk is just a start. The goal over the cranberry sauce is to open the door for a long-term conversation. It won't be easy, but don't give up. The old adage of "the personal is political" is true. In fact, often times a personal connection is what creates transformation.

This Thanksgiving, I'm committing to starting conversations I'd normally avoid, to being both courageous and kind, and to keep talking past the point of disagreement so we can move our nation table-by-table toward finding a common ground that lifts everyone.

(Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is an author, radio host of "Breaking Through," and executive director and co-founder of MomsRising.org, a nonprofit national organization that supports policies to improve family economic security.)





Alison Stine

"Maybe This Year Is The Year To Start New Traditions"

My parents and siblings are progressive, as I am. My extended family is another story, but we tend not to talk about these things. We don't bring them up. We're from rural Indiana. We're farmers or the children of farmers.

The last time my extended family all got together, in the fall before the election, I worked outside, gathering black walnuts to sell to the produce auction, and soon my aunt joined me. We worked for a while in silence, filling garbage bags full of nuts, which stained our hands, before she told me that relatives back in the house had brought up politics; she had had to leave the room. It's OK to leave the room, the house, the unsafe space. It's OK to gather walnuts. It's OK to remind yourself what matters to you. It's okay to surround yourself with your reasons for standing up, for resisting, for staying strong.

Maybe this is the year to start new traditions. Maybe this is the year to make a family of friends. This year, I am going with someone I care about to see the migration of sandhill cranes on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe this year, we all need to see something rise.

(Alison Stine is a single mom raising a son in rural Ohio. She is a writing fellow for the Center for Community Change.)













> Excerpts from the November 19, 2016 Newsday feature story by Rev. Thomas W. Goodhue entitled:

How To Survive Thanksgiving Dinner Conversations In A Politically Explosive Year


Thomas W. Goodhue is a United Methodist clergyman who recently retired as leader of the Long Island Council of Churches. He is writing a book on how to get along with your neighbors in a multi-faith world.

When I have led many workshops for preachers and public policy advocates about how to preach about divisive topics, many have said they planned to use the advice during an even more frightening occasion: Thanksgiving dinner with their brother-in-law.

Unless your family has a strict rule that bars religion and politics from the table, you may be dreading this gathering.

This has been a particularly ugly presidential election. Vermont Democratic U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and most of the Republican presidential candidates mined the deep currents of anger and grievance that run through our nation, and we ended up with nominees that dismayed many Americans.

So, how can you make it through a holiday meal without saying something you regret?

Listen before you speak. Few of us pay attention very long to anyone who wants our attention without giving it. The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, Jr. of the Riverside Church in Manhattan, who died earlier this year, said that “You should try to listen to your opponents carefully enough that you can state their position to their satisfaction.

Let people know you heard them. I am more likely to remain civil if somebody first tells me, “I hear what you are saying, but I see things differently.”

Confess your own ambivalence and confusion. Try to never condemn something without first locating it in your own life. Rather than tell others that you think they are wrong, tell them how you realized that you were wrong yourself.

It is far better to admit that you have struggled with bias yourself than to call your in-law a bigot. If you held your nose as you cast your ballot or were tempted, as I was, to vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson — even when he could not name a single foreign leader he respects – or to write in Jed Barlett (“The West Wing”) for president, say so.

Use humor, particularly if you are the butt of the joke. Be careful, though, about tales that your family may see as ridiculing members of your clan. In discussing immigration, I often tell audiences that I suspect my grandfather slipped across the border, even though no visas were required until a decade later. If I joked about this among my siblings or cousins, though, they might not appreciate the humor.

Don’t demand that others agree with you. As Unitarian Universalist Rev. Paul Johnson notes, most people are far more willing to hear him out if he does not expect agreement — or suggest that something is wrong with them if they disagree.

Speak for yourself. It is far more effective and far less offensive to say, “My experience has been different,” rather than “You don’t know what you are talking about.” Even relatives who think you have lived a really strange life are not likely to become indignant about it.

Last, but not least, remember that God loves those who are wrong, including that relative who drives you crazy. At the Riverside Church, Coffin also liked to remind us that “God can ride the lame horse and carve the rotten wood.”

God even loves the likes of you and me.


















Afterword: So when it comes to talking politics at your Thanksgiving table, what Michael Stipe of REM sang still holds true: You've got to take a stand wherever you are, even at the dining table at Thanksgiving, too!






"Stand" by REM

Stand_ in the place where you live_;
Now_ face_ north_;
Think about direction;
Wonder why you haven't before.

Now stand in the place where you work_;
Now_ face_ west_:
Think about the place where you live_;
Wonder why you haven't before_.

If you are confused, check with the sun;
Carry a compass_ to help you along_
Your feet_ are go-in' to be on the ground_
Your head_ is there_ to move you around_

So stand_ in the place where you live_
Now_ face_ north_;
Think about direction;
Wonder why you haven't before_.

Now stand_ in the place where you work_
Now_ face_ west_;
Think about the place where you live_;
Wonder why you haven't before_.

Your feet_ are goin'_ to be on the ground_;
Your head_ is there_ to move you around_;
If wishes were trees_, the trees would be fallin'_;
Listen to Reason_, Reason is call-in'_.

Stand in the place where you live_;
Now_ face_ north_;
Think about direction;
Wonder why you haven't before_.

Now stand_ in the place where you work;
Now_ face_ west;
Think about the place where you live;
Wonder why you haven't before_....


If wishes were trees_, the trees would be fall-ing;
Listen to Reason, Reason is calling
Your feet_ are going to be_ on the ground;
Your head is there to move you around.

So stand_ (Stand!_)
Now_ face_ north_
Think about direction;
Wonder why you haven't before_.

Now stand (Stand!)
Now_ face_ west;
Think about the place where you live;
Wonder why you haven't --

Stand in the place where you live;
Now_ face_ north_;
Think about direction_;
Wonder why_ you haven't before_.

Now stand_ in the place where you work_
Now_ face west_;
Think about the place where you live;
Wonder why you haven't before.

Stand in the place where you are__
Now_ face_ north_
Stand in the place where you are__
Now_ face_ west_
Your feet_ are goin' to be on the ground_;
(Stand in the place where you are__)
Your head_ is there_ to move you around, so stand_!
(Stand in the place where you are_!)

So stand!



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casey r lowe
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or you could watch nfl for 10 hours
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utoption2 wrote:
Can you provide an Executive Summary? My reading skills only allow me to process 140 words at a time. I apologize in advance for my lack of processing skills.







 
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I see you...
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single sentences wrote:
or you could watch nfl for 10 hours


Better to just drink the Jesus Juice instead.
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Thanks James. What a wonderful and original Thanksgiving post. Instant classic. You made my day!
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Sky Knight X wrote:
Thanks James. What a wonderful and original Thanksgiving post. Instant classic. You made my day!

Did you find the Easter turkey egg though?



 
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:


Sky Knight X wrote:
Thanks James. What a wonderful and original Thanksgiving post. Instant classic. You made my day!

Did you find the Easter turkey egg though?




No. No I didn't. I took everything at face value and wasn't looking for hidden items.

But I have until Thanksgiving of next year to find it, right?
 
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Sky Knight X wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:
Thanks James. What a wonderful and original Thanksgiving post. Instant classic. You made my day!

Did you find the Easter turkey egg though?

No. No I didn't. I took everything at face value and wasn't looking for hidden items.

But I have until Thanksgiving of next year to find it, right?

No, but you have until 11:59 p.m. PST on Cyber Monday, Nov. 28th to identify the turkey egg.

Otherwise, I'll never tell.


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James King
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:
Thanks James. What a wonderful and original Thanksgiving post. Instant classic. You made my day!

Did you find the Easter turkey egg though?

No. No I didn't. I took everything at face value and wasn't looking for hidden items.

But I have until Thanksgiving of next year to find it, right?

No, but you have until 11:59 p.m. PST on Cyber Monday, Nov. 28th to identify the turkey egg.

Otherwise, I'll never tell.

But I will give you a hint though: Ironically enough, it's also made the news over the past month.


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utoption2 wrote:
Dispaminite wrote:
single sentences wrote:
or you could watch nfl for 10 hours


Better to just drink the Jesus Juice instead.


WTF is Jesus Juice?

Ask Michael Jackson.
 
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Sure, you can talk politics but what about lizard people?
 
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or you could watch nfl for 10 hours
Topics "discussed" around my Nieces: WHOM was that performing during "Halftime" of Cowboys/Redskins GAME? GET even M-O-R-E-!: 'make up stuff' for theirs since "bizarre Clowns"-'epidemic' is the RAGE, sans a-parently; "dressing up"! whistle
 
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:
Thanks James. What a wonderful and original Thanksgiving post. Instant classic. You made my day!

Did you find the Easter turkey egg though?

No. No I didn't. I took everything at face value and wasn't looking for hidden items.

But I have until Thanksgiving of next year to find it, right?

No, but you have until 11:59 p.m. PST on Cyber Monday, Nov. 28th to identify the turkey egg.

Otherwise, I'll never tell.

But I will give you a hint though: Ironically enough, it's also made the news over the past month.

Second clue: There's an overt mention of the nature of this turkey egg in a video in the "Live from New York, it's THANKSGIVING at 'Saturday Night Live'!" thread. Once you understand that, then you're likely to figure out how to find the turkey egg in this thread's first post.


 
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James King
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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:
Thanks James. What a wonderful and original Thanksgiving post. Instant classic. You made my day!

Did you find the Easter turkey egg though?

No. No I didn't. I took everything at face value and wasn't looking for hidden items.

But I have until Thanksgiving of next year to find it, right?

No, but you have until 11:59 p.m. PST on Cyber Monday, Nov. 28th to identify the turkey egg.

Otherwise, I'll never tell.

But I will give you a hint though: Ironically enough, it's also made the news over the past month.

Second clue: There's an overt mention of the nature of this turkey egg in a video in the "Live from New York, it's THANKSGIVING at 'Saturday Night Live'!" thread. Once you understand that, then you're likely to figure out how to find the turkey egg in this thread's first post.

Third clue: It's not the music. It's the lyrics that point to the nature of the turkey egg imbedded in the first message of this thread.



 
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