Surviving politics over the holidays

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


After a long drive, you walk inside, knock the snow off your boots and smell pecan pie — and politics. As Thanksgiving comes closer and closer, I’m sure I have the same thing on my mind as many other college students: navigating the minefield of political discussions at grandma’s house.

The tension at the dinner table is palpable; you know that they can sense your newfangled ideas on social justice that are rumbling around in your brain. And then you hear it: without any pretext your uncle starts singing the praises of Trump. If it wasn’t for all the yeast rolls sitting like a rock in your stomach, dulling your reflexes, you may have just lunged across the table right there.

Here is where I encourage you to take a deep breath, clear your head and construct an argument that will take their comment and prove it wrong in at least eight ways.

If you think about it, college students are practically trained in the art of the argument. We sit through countless class discussions, documentaries and guest speakers. We know exactly what to do.

As we’ve seen through countless sources, yelling accomplishes almost nothing other than having the listener discount your whole argument. What does change minds and move mountains is the art of persuasion. Remaining calm and having tact goes a long way when speaking your mind.

In addition, it is in your favor to take the high road. I’m going to assume that the majority of the population of your dinner table consists of adults. Adults should be able to have logical, clear minded conversations about sensitive topics. Now, I’m not saying that a 20-minute discussion with your extended family will make them understand the nuances of power structures and institutionalized racism; that would take an act of god.

However, they may have newfound respect for you and your demographic as a whole. Keep in mind that prejudice is fueled by ignorance, we can’t fix everything. But maybe, we can make our grandparents a little less ignorant and a little more compassionate.


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