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How to Prepare For A Politics Ridden Thanksgiving

The turkey is stuffed, the mashed-potatoes buttered to perfection and the sweet potato casserole from your great-grandmother’s recipe smells delicious. Parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins are gathered around the table to devour the supper in front of them and give thanks. However, there is some tension filling the room. Your shoulders become stiff as your whole body tenses when the one topic is brought up: politics. As the fall semester comes to a close and the month of November begins, there is one holiday that everyone is looking forward to: Thanksgiving! However, this Thanksgiving seems to be rather different, especially with the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election and the COVID-19 pandemic looming over the holiday. Here are some tips to prepare you for when politics get brought into the conversation at the dinner table. 

Get educated 

Before getting into any political discussion, the best thing to do is educate yourself. Hopefully, throughout the election process, you have been researching the candidates. From their backgrounds to their policies to their “hidden” scandals to their overall behavior, you as a voter and an American citizen want to know who you exactly are choosing for the office of President. You’ve probably been watching the debates, (we won’t question if they were helpful or not), and been reading articles and viewing newsworthy stories. Before you start a political discussion or get dragged into one, make sure you know what you are talking about. The worst thing to do to yourself in a debate/argument is make yourself look foolish. Make sure that the facts you are presenting or the retelling of events all line up with the truth. Don’t be fake news! Nobody can win an argument against someone who knows everything and anything about the topic at hand! 

Be prepared for blowouts

Maybe it’s just my family, but no matter what the topic is there always seems to be glares thrown, eyes rolled and some sort of screaming match happening during the holidays. I don’t expect for it to change this year, especially regarding the election. The election has brought out some of the meanest and darkest sides of people that I have never seen before. Family members are clashing over political views and are ending friendships because they don’t share the same political parties. Tensions are as high as ever as results of the presidential election loom over our heads like a dark cloud. With our country being divided, be prepared for your dinner table to be. Most likely, there may be some family members who support President Donald Trump, while others support President-elect Joe Biden, and some may support no one at all. With the looming tension and high aggravation, prepare yourself for some discussions to turn into arguments. You possibly have the chance of attending another presidential debate, only this time it’s happening in your kitchen and you have a front-row seat. 

Don’t feed into it 

When arguments begin to get out of hand, there is one main thing to keep in mind: self-control. We’ve all heard the saying growing up, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” When it comes to time for politics to make their debut at the dinner, remember to not feed into arguments. Politics in general is a rather risky topic, and most of the time leads to arguments and fights. If your uncle starts bringing up the election, voice your concern for the topic or even, if you have to, excuse yourself from the situation. Many people have the theory that what they believe is right, no matter how many facts are presented to them. Don’t waste your energy and time with your loved ones on some silly argument with a relative. Take a deep breath, have some pumpkin pie and move onto the next topic like your spring semester of the 2020-2021 school year! 

Be understanding

With the results of the presidential election of 2020, there has been some tensions brewing along with it. Our country has been divided over parties and candidates, and the division has grown strong with hatred. Too many people are being close-minded and harsh to others’ opinions, but we need to be better. In order to grow as a country, we need to be more open-minded to others opinions. Obviously, there are going to be times when not everyone will agree. However, our country has become too divided when it comes to politics. Instead of just not being in agreement, we are instead calling other’s names, refuting friendships and breaking away from family. While those may not be the worst things to happen, especially if you are in a toxic household or environment, it’s just not how America used to be. Understanding is something that America needs to relearn. For too long, we’ve been fighting over parties, policies and candidates, when we just need to be understanding of each other. Thanksgiving is probably going to be tense with the presidential election results finalized, however, remember what you’re celebrating and who you’re celebrating with.

Always be respectful 

Even with all of the political talk, Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving, which is the holiday where you stuff your face as much as you can and spend some much-needed time with family. Don’t let the topic of politics ruin that. Too many times we witness the severing of friendships, disowning of family members and no-talking agreements when it comes to differing opinions about the election. Our country has become too divided, and respect amongst the two parties and it’s supporters has long disappeared. Arguments are turning into fist-fights. Family members are turning into unspoken relatives. And holidays are turning into a screaming fest. Let’s make Thanksgiving different. Whether you have concurring or differing opinions with family members, remember one main thing: they are family. Family is one of a kind and is something that should be held so dear. Respect your family members, respect their opinions and ultimately respect the Thanksgiving holiday.  No matter what, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is meant to be celebrated with the people you love the most, so don’t ruin it over an election. Remember to always be respectful to whoever you’re talking to no matter what party or candidate they support. 

Holidays are stressful at times, especially with the Presidential election at an end, however don’t let the political blues ruin your Thanksgiving. This is your break from all of the schoolwork, time to stuff yourself with homemade food and be able to hug and kiss the ones you missed the most while away. Sure, there are going to be discussions about politics that may get a little tense and rough at the dinner table, but overall you are celebrating a holiday with your family. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and don’t let any Aunt Karen or anybody else’s political views get you down! 

Serena is a Junior at the University of Pittsburgh who is majoring in English Writing with minors in Creative Writing and Legal Studies. When she's not writing short stories for class, Serena loves to write for HC Pitt, listen to music, and watch Jersey Shore!