Thanksgiving Political Spats: What You Talked About When You Talked Turkey
Earlier this month, David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps, offered some advice to Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner on how to steer awkward Thanksgiving conversations toward something constructive.
We asked you to circle back with us to tell us your experiences, especially with family members of different political stripes. And you did. So for that, we are thankful.
But we should acknowledge first that there was a deep desire to steer clear of the Election Day. Keith Chamberlain, of Denver, said he and his wife came up with a "house rule" this holiday: "The first person to bring up the P word, as in politics, is doing dishes all by themselves, by hand."
Chamberlain was not alone in his desire to avoid political spats. Anne Fairbairn from Arvada, said her family accepted everyone at the table.
“We had a huge Thanksgiving dinner. We had people from seven different countries and our own family, which is multi-cultural, multi-racial. And we are very different politically and socially from my husband’s side of the family, but we love them very much. And so we felt better than talking was to live what’s important. So that’s making our home a place where people are welcome regardless of where their country of origin is or the language they speak, or the religion they follow. And I think that what is important is the relationship."
Frances Rossi of Denver did get into politics at the table. Rossi emailed that her family spent Thanksgiving at a small cabin... with eight adults and three preschoolers. She said they talked about specific issues rather than their feelings about President-Elect Trump. Quote: "We have always been somewhat argumentative... taught by my father, who insisted on having a whole arsenal of reference books within reach of our dining table. At this Thanksgiving gathering, it was cell phones being tasked with verifying statements. I think this really kept the peace: that we hold opinion as relative and value coming to an objective idea of what's happening. And we are used to disagreement, knowing it's normal and not the end of our family relationship."
Brenda St. John of Grand Junction said she spent Thanksgiving apart from her biological family... and has -- for years -- because of differing political views. St. John said she spends holidays with friends and their families...
"Not all of whom I agree with but are well-balanced enough to hear opposing ideas, and open to positions that can be respectfully debated. As a mediator and child and family investigator for several judicial districts in the state, I see many families in conflict. Separated, estranged and dysfunctional families will be the demise of our society. So if your family is gathering and arguing, be thankful."
Have a story to share of how you and your loved ones tackle tough political talks? You can call 720-358-4029 to leave a voicemail about how those conversations went. You can also record them with your smartphone and email the file to email@example.com. We may use your experiences on the air and online.
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