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#TurkeyTalk: How to Deal with the Political Arguments on Thanksgiving

I love politics. I love political conversations. However, arguing about my political beliefs with family over a huge, roasted turkey is not my idea of fun. Don’t get me wrong; I tend to get wrapped up in spouting out my beliefs on everything from health care policies to international affairs, but on a day of solidarity, that’s the last thing on my mind. 

My brother and I, plus a couple of distant family members, are left-leaning on the political scale. Coming from a small, conservative town, the rest of my family is very right-leaning. Each year, it never fails that my brother and I have to put on our metaphorical boxing gloves and defend our liberal ideas. 

Shoving an entire spoonful of mashed potatoes into your mouth to catch your tongue is the most Thanksgiving-friendly way to avoid arguing about whether or not you think Trump is fit for office. But, as someone who loves politics, this won’t stop me from giving a few opinions.

To avoid an outright brawl over a spread of food, try to spin your argument to make it as personal as possible. Giving personal examples adds emotion to the conversation, which is hard to rebuttal. 

Additionally, if your crazy uncle begins to tell you that “you’re young; you don’t know anything,” tell him that this generation is extremely active in politics. Each generation is dramatically different than the next, and that’s beautiful. 

Another argument that always comes up is the “this isn’t how we raised you.” Your parents raised you to be independent, whether that’s physically, financially or politically. They don’t want you to depend on them forever. Tell your family that; they should be glad that you found a political platform and that you can create your own set of beliefs. 

Lastly, spin your arguments (especially on Thanksgiving) to be things for which you’re thankful. I know it’s easier said than done, but talking about the good things that each political party has done for the country can make these conversations less of a brawl and more of a civil disagreement. It doesn’t matter how much the family tries to argue with you, no one is going to change their opinions. 

No matter where on the political scale you may lie, your family should respect your opinions. If your family is divided every other day of the year, make this the one day you come together and celebrate the things for which you’re thankful. 

Be thankful for the Democratic party, be thankful for the Republican party, be thankful for your right to believe what you want to believe. No one can take your beliefs away from you, especially over decadent sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie adorned with loads of whipped cream. 

Hannah Correll

Chapel Hill '22

Hannah is an aspiring political journalist studying Broadcast Journalism and Political Scientist at UNC. In my free time, Hannah enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee, watching the news, spending money online shopping, traveling all over the country and watching crime documentaries. Follow her instagram @hannahecorrell!
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