Thanksgiving is a time for family, feasting, and — let’s face it — fighting. And if your Thanksgiving is anything like mine, you know what it’s like to wade through political conversations with an insufficiently leftist family. From “Socialist” to “Democratic Socialist” to the dreaded “Progressive Democrat,” the political ideologies are truly all over the map. Feeling anxious about the inevitable liberal infighting that accompanies Thanksgiving? Grab a plate, help yourself to these tips, and enjoy a controversy-free Turkey Day.
Avoid “off-limit” topics
The easiest way to avoid an argument is to circumvent controversial topics altogether. Remember that some family members may express beliefs that make zero sense to you, or anyone using common sense — and that’s okay! Perhaps your sister is open to nuclear as a short-term energy solution, or Cousin Derek thinks partial student loan forgiveness is “good enough for now.” Rather than having to point out that your relatives are corporatist shills, you’re better off playing it safe and broaching less contentious subjects, such as gun control, abortion, or Mayor Pete and how utterly terrible he is. Of course, in the event that a fight starts to brew…
Just ask questions
So you stumbled into an argument. Instead of firing green bean casserole across the table, try and understand where your family member is coming from. Did Mom just admit she voted for Hillary in the general? Ask her why she felt the need to support a neoliberal, centrist pig rather than voting third-party, or whether she’s proud to have enabled a massively corrupt Democratic National Committee. Although she’s revealed herself to be a shitlib, it can’t hurt to investigate how and when a family member became so morally bankrupt, if only from a sociological perspective.
Try to change the subject
Sure, it was inevitable that the wealth tax would come up at some point — this is Thanksgiving, after all — but that doesn’t necessarily have to spoil dinner. Just because Aunt Jolene finds Elizabeth Warren’s tax plan palatable and thinks we can do without the extra two trillion dollars in revenue that Bernie’s model would generate doesn’t change the fact that she loves you. Forget that your aunt is an elitist who is forever tainted by that semester she worked as an adjunct at Dartmouth, and pivot to something everyone can agree on, like how excited you are to grab a slice of her famous Sweet Potato Pie!
Let it go
After it becomes clear that Aunt Jolene is too goddamn stupid to understand that using the public option as a bridge to Medicare-For-All is EXACTLY what the Republicans want, it’s time to acknowledge that you shouldn’t interact with certain family members altogether. Look, it’s Thanksgiving, and you’re going to hear some opinions that are harder to swallow than Aunt Jolene’s bullshit Sweet Potato Pie. Sometimes the safest option is to ignore your family for the remainder of the day, and to the extent possible, all future gatherings.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, but when you ask Dad if he can name another candidate who endorses a national rent control and he just stands there stuttering and you respond, “I didn’t think so, motherfucker,” and everybody laughs and your dad replies, “I know you didn’t mean it this way, son, but it is awfully humorous that you just called me, your dad, a motherfucker. You gotta admit that’s pretty funny,” there’s basically no other option than to tell your family off and leave in search of a better, less ridiculous one.
Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and reflection, and what better way to reflect than by driving home listening to Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up” and coming to terms with the fact that you’re lucky to have friends and family who love you, and whom you love back, despite your vast, irreconcilable differences within an ultra-progressive ideology. Is there a seat at the table for a little old socialist who gets carried away from time to time? Truth be told, Aunt Jolene’s Sweet Potato Pie is quite tasty…
Find the perfect icebreaker
“It’s just a little suspicious that he was taken off suicide watch, and that the lone security camera outside his cell was turned off, isn’t it?” is something you can offer to break the tension once you return. Surely your family will collectively agree that, not only was Jeffrey Epstein murdered, but also it was organized by the billionaire class, who should all be sent to the gallows. At this point a wave of relief should pass over everyone at the table, allowing for a timely clinking of glasses and cheers to a delightful Thanksgiving feast, to kinship, and merriment all around.