Saving Thanksgiving

Jake Keeley

Please don’t let your family ruin Thanksgiving with their political discussions. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday just for the simplicity of it all. There is no need for gifts, no need to dress up, just plenty of good food, plus the Lions game.

Thanksgiving is usually small enough to keep out your weird cousins, yet large enough to spend with the family that you actually enjoy seeing. And did I mention the food? Unfortunately, I feel like Thanksgiving might turn into ‘Takesgiving’ this year, as we have just witnessed one of the most divisive elections in history, and it doesn’t seem like people are ready to put this one to bed for a long time.

With multiple personalities and beliefs at the dinner table, there are really only two ways to approach politics at Thanksgiving: either guns blazing or completely avoid talking about it at all. If you find yourself anywhere in the middle, prepare to feel plenty of awkwardness and keep that carving knife handy in order to cut the tension. Ultimately, whether anyone believes it or not, you have the ability to control which route you end up taking.

The route I will be guiding the table down is that of no politics. Not only do I not think that it is neither the time or the place, I’m mainly doing it for everyone’s health and sanity. Ruining Thanksgiving does not necessarily mean ruining your Thanksgiving, being in this position of power, you might have to look out for the young, the elderly and everyone in between.

Grandma might be so fed up with the election that any little thing might set her off. And a bad Thanksgiving for grandma is a bad Thanksgiving for everyone. Little Johnny might be stuck listening to crazy Uncle Jim, you don’t want Johnny corrupted. This is not as easy as it seems, though. The most effective tactic in limiting political chatter lies within the seating chart. Many people think that seating two opposing people together will set off heated discussion, but on the contrary seating two like-minded people next to each other will offer the opportunity for them to talk about their ideals safely. That is, until someone else hears their chatter, and the real discussion begins.

On the other hand, sometimes politics is simply unavoidable. There might be several people who came to dinner thinking about politics, and won’t stop until the basis of the conversation is politics. Instead of allowing them to throw half-hearted barbs at each other from across the table, you have to dive right into it.

If the table wants to talk about politics, lead them there. Rather, end the uneasy tension quickly as opposed to waiting and letting it build. Seeing you go to Grand Valley State University and are likely a millennial, you will likely be lumped into a particular group, just a warning. But remember, you are older, wiser and more educated than you were last year. If you want to partake in the discussion, just remember to come correct.

The choice is yours. Just remember that some people will be heavily invested in the Lions game. Try not to disrupt their viewing experience.