A Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving Dinner in Trumpland

Thoughts of previous Thanksgiving dinners typically involve vats of mashed potatoes drenched in butter, seeing cousins, second cousins, and twice removed cousins for the first time in a long time, and the chance to escape the pressures of everyday life for a little bit. However, as the holiday quickly approaches, this year my thoughts are more veered towards the election and the impact it will have on the cherished mashed potatoes, bonding, and relaxation. I can't help but wonder how many bottles of beer or glasses of wine it will take before I have to hear one of my beloved uncles say, "I voted for Donald Trump" instead of "pass the casserole." 

That got me thinking of last year's SNL Thanksgiving skit where a family sat around the table vehemently arguing about the presidential campaign, homophobia, and modern-day racism in America. The only thing the family seems to have in common at this point is their love for the hit Adele song, "Hello" (can you blame them... one year later and I still sing it in the shower). I can imagine, especially being that The New School is known for being a famously progressive and liberal institution, that many of us students will be experiencing similar dinner dynamics this Thanksgiving due to the 2016 Presidential Election. Being that I come from a family where my mother voted for Susan B. Anthony (this was not a year to protest *rolls eyes*) and my father has failed to mention the election entirely throughout our numerous phone calls, I was seriously considering avoiding the trouble entirely and staying in Manhattan alone with nothing but a store-bought rotisserie chicken. 

But, in the past, I would still show up to family gatherings, knowing my relatives would throw major shade at my unorthodox tattoos and unfiltered social media rants. I knew that seeing my family and sweetly slipping into a food coma was worth the sacrifice of having to explain myself to them. Although, this year a lot more is at stake. I don't think supporting Trump as a president can be divorced from supporting his racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic values. That being said, here’s how to survive Thanksgiving dinner this year when you’re the liberal black sheep:

First of all, assuming that the topic will inevitably pop up, remember that your opinion and views are valuable regardless of how others react to it. Just because Nana and Uncle Steve passionately express that Hillary is a crook and the ongoing protests are useless, counteractive, pathetic, or all of the above, doesn’t eliminate the fact that you know why you believe in the things that you believe in. If they aren’t willing to make an attempt to understand your perspective, that says everything about their character and nothing about yours. Speaking of perspective, in order to avoid complete chaos at the table, keep in mind the difference between educating and imposing. If you’re feeling attacked by your loved ones and they’re forcing their Trump ideology down your throat, instead of acting passively, aggressively, or passive agressively, the most effective route would be to simply inform them of why you disagree (plus, the only thing that should be going down your throat on Thanksgiving is an unhealthy helping of pumpkin pie). If they still don’t take the bait: my only advice is to get up and grab seconds, or thirds, depending on how heated your family is about the topic.

Also, another thing to be aware of is that if you are a liberal who accepts people of all genders, races, and sexual orientations, you must accept conservatives too. To be a liberal who doesn’t welcome everyone’s opinions and values equally, even those that are different from your own, is blatant hypocrisy.

So, please, don’t avoid this opportunity to get away from school, see your family, and eat something other than a $1 pizza in fear of the potential arguments. They may not support your stance in this year’s election, but they are much more than their vote. They are your mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, uncles, friends, etc. Love trumps hate after all. #LoveTrumpsHate