December 13, 2017

“The dining room isn’t D.C.” A guide to avoiding politics this Thanksgiving

Andrew Matejka '19, Features Editor

While Thanksgiving is America’s second favorite holiday, the Turkey Day dinner table may be America’s favorite place to argue all things political, and avoiding these debates could be the key to a more relaxing day this time around. Graphic by Max Tracey.

As 88 million Americans sit down to eat turkey with friends and family this Thanksgiving, many will be partaking in classic dinner talk. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, old friends, new friends, and families will sit down and discuss everything from football to those embarrassing baby photos in living room. Unfortunately, one topic families seemingly can’t avoid is politics.

Maybe your uncle is visiting from out of town and bringing with him his impassioned support of President Trump, only to end up sitting next the grandmother who loves to mention how much money she donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Or perhaps your cousins returning from college will turn their once annual visit into a debate about Medicare or paying off student loans.

After all, Thanksgiving is a holiday which reunites large portions of people, and potentially ignites some heated debate over recent news from Washington.

No matter where you fall in the inevitable debate this Thanksgiving, political arguments are a surefire way to turn a nice meal into a battle royale or, after hours of fighting, eliminate your aunt from things you’re thankful for this year. Therefore, the best way to make this Thanksgiving a memorable experience – in a good way- is to avoid politics altogether.

First, try making it clear that there is a difference between your dining room and the Capitol building. Make it known to your immediate family that bringing up politics isn’t welcome, and hope that any guests you have get the memo and decide not bring any baggage into the conversation.

If debate is necessary to satisfy your sister’s argumentative side, then try some viable alternatives such as the classic light vs. dark meat debate (Turkey isn’t even that great a meat to begin with), apple vs. pumpkin pie, or how long it will take for Grandpa to turn the Giants vs. Redskins snoozefest into an early bedtime.

Furthermore, discuss Wellesley’s win vs. Needham from Thanksgiving morning in the 130th meeting of the schools, or ask the one great uncle, who you aren’t quite sure your relation to, what it was like to be at the first meeting of the high school rivals. Maybe explain to your family how the only reason you took 74th in the morning’s Turkey Trot was because that woman with the stroller tripped you on purpose.

Whatever you choose to talk about, make it something fun or meaningful. There are a myriad other times to become a political activist — during the carving of the Turkey simply isn’t one of them. Instead, take time with relatives to connect over ideas and memories that you share instead of arguing over minute differences. After all, 46.9 million Americans will sit in traffic for more than 50 miles this holiday according to the American Automobile Association and chances are the uncle sitting across from you is already cranky.

Thanksgiving only happens once a year; don’t let it devolve into another debate from last week’s history class and instead spend the time being thankful for a chance to see friends and relatives. Or be thankful for the fact that you’ve finally reached a much deserved break from school, despite the fact that plenty of teachers likely skirted the Student Handbook and found a way to assign homework anyway. No matter how you spend the day, make it special and take the chance to breakaway from the hectic world of a highschool student. And don’t forget to eat a lot of food. The average American will consume twice their recommended caloric intake this Turkey Day, and Wellesley-ites don’t take a particular liking to being below average.

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