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The Political “Turkey” Code for Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation

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Thanksgiving Scene
"Giving Thanks," Israel Mendez

I know. I know. Never discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. But let’s face it, this year it will be really hard to hold back. 

So, I have a solution. Here’s a suggested “code” that will let us pass the plates instead of throwing them.

Donald Trump = Ham

Hillary Clinton = Turkey

Trump’s policies = Sweet Potatoes

Hillary’s policies = Stuffing

The media = Gravy

Melania Trump = Cranberry Sauce

Bill Clinton = Green Beans

Election Night = Pumpkin Pie

So the conversation between a Republican husband and Democrat wife might go like this:  

Donna Democrat: Could you pass the turkey and stuffing dear?  

Randy Republican: Don’t you want any ham this year?

Donna: God no. It’s full of fat.

Randy: But the turkey stuffing is terrible this year.

Donna: I like the stuffing. It’s a tried and true recipe.

Randy: That’s just because you slather it with gravy to make it taste good.  

Donna: Well it’s better than those sweet potatoes. They’re nothing but mush.

Randy: Would you like some cranberry sauce with your turkey?

Donna: No thank you. It’s that fake jelly kind from a can. How about some green beans honey?

Randy: I’ll skip them. They’re overcooked and we have them every year. 

Donna: For some reason I don’t have much of an appetite. Maybe we should just skip to the pumpkin pie and be done with it.  

Robby: Or order Chinese. 

Donna: Sounds like a plan honey.  

Ok maybe taking in code requires too much discipline. In which case you may have to employ other techniques to keep the peace.  Here are ten tips I gathered from various psychologists and family therapists that may help keep Thanksgiving civil.  

  1. Avoid personal attacks. Talk politics not personalities.
  2. Use humor to keep the mood lighter 
  3. If you say grace before the meal, incorporate a wish for mutual respect and understanding.
  4. Don’t drink too much.
  5. Let people have their say. Try not to interrupt.
  6. Thing about the kids. Adults who know how to disagree without being disagreeable are a great role model for kids.
  7. Find common ground despite disagreements
  8. When things get tense, change the subject. “Let’s talk about this later. Right now let’s enjoy being together.”
  9. Keep perspective. No one is going to change anyone’s mind. Arguing is not worth it. 
  10. Remember that family relationships outlast a presidency. 
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