Unfortunately, Thanksgiving can sometimes feel like a battleground!
You're thrown together with people you know and love... who very often STRONGLY disagree with you politically.
That makes the turkey, potatoes, dressing, and pumpkin pie not so satisfying. Right?
The most common escape from the arguing is to simply avoid politics. That can work. But there's only so much to say about the weather!
And really, as concerned, engaged, smart citizens in a democracy, we should be able to talk with one another about politics! Especially with people we disagree with.
And when you have a spirited but civil discussion with someone you disagree with... that's how democracy functions.
Not by hostile arguments.
Not by carefully avoiding the issues.
Our Founding Fathers specifically created the Constitution to encourage civil debate and compromise.
That's why your Thanksgiving this year can help save America from the anger and incivility that's so common now!
Let me suggest 6 "rules" for your Thanksgiving discussion:
- May I suggest a good issue to start with? TERM LIMITS for CONGRESS. It's an important issue. Not everyone believes in them, but this issue is supported by more than 80% of voters. And it raises all kinds of important ideas about our democracy and our government.
- Agree on specific issues to discuss. And really discuss them. Try not to go too far off that topic.
- Agree up front that you won't talk about President Trump -- or any other office-holders or candidates. There are times to do that. Not this Thanksgiving. Talking about people quickly gets personal and emotional. Make your conversation about ISSUES.
- When you disagree with someone, before you answer back to them, think to yourself, I love you and respect you, but I disagree with you and here's why... This helps you remember that the person you disagree with is not your enemy. They just have a different point of view.
- Another thing to do when someone says something you consider wrong is to ask them to clarify. Instead of just telling them they're wrong, ask questions like "Do you mean to say (and then state their position back to them in your own words)?" This is a great way to find your common ground, because often we are wrapped up more in the language people use than their actual ideas!
- If someone else breaks these rules and is rude to YOU, don't fight back. It's their loss, not yours. Instead try to gently return to the civil approach.
If you have a civil, solid, spirited, meaningful discussion that does not become an angry argument, you'll have done something very important for our country.
You'll help repair the brokenness that we hate to see in our nation!
You'll literally be part of saving America.
It happens one table at a time.
I hope you can do this.
Let me know how it goes! And Happy Thanksgiving.