Don’t Spoil the Holiday by Spoiling for a Fight

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Andy Sauer

You are not going to change the world from the holiday dinner table or party.

I feel like I’ve written that before, but it bears repeating, sadly, such are the times in which we live. Consider it a public service announcement.

There may be some readers who are in a position to influence global events (it’s possible), but I doubt it will happen in the context of a family gathering, and it definitely won’t be during a discussion/argument with a politically diametric relative. The world will be much as it was, and worst-case scenario, you’ll ruin the holiday and make your mom cry.

Let me provide the best-case scenario: On a recent holiday, I had a lengthy discussion/argument with a family member who had a very different opinion than me. We were, for once, polite. There was no drama. No one lost their temper. We waited for the other to finish their sentences. Concessions, when warranted, were made by both sides. It was all very proper. But, for the most, part nothing was agreed upon. No one changed their opinion on any issue. The entire discussion/argument, though very civil, accomplished absolutely nothing.

Now, maybe you’re among those who feel very passionately about current events. And, maybe you view that one family member, friend or acquaintance is representative of everything that’s been driving you crazy. And, maybe you’d welcome a spontaneous discussion/argument with the aforementioned representative to “get a few things off your chest.”

That individual, whoever it may be, is not the physical manifestation of your frustrations and fears, and that kind of discussion/argument isn’t cathartic, it’s sociopathic.

It’s no secret that campaign strategists of all stripes purposefully attempt to stoke passions and fears to bump up their candidates’ poll numbers a point or two. American political history is rife with episodes of fear-mongering and shameless propaganda. Political hacks don’t view passionate political discussions/arguments as constructive dialogues; they view them as a means to get their candidate elected. They couldn’t care less about the collateral damage to any social unit, be it nation, state or family. I’m just surprised no political hack has ever proposed holding Election Day the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Let’s add this up: A political discussion/argument at a holiday function won’t change the world, won’t change anyone’s mind and will alienate you from friends and family.

If you have been invited to a holiday dinner or party, it means, despite any differences, there is something you have in common. Maybe you’re family, neighbors or co-workers.

Instead of focusing on what will clearly drive you apart, celebrate the things that bring you together.

And, let the political hacks do the fighting. 

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