The War at Home

Posted December 3, 2012 at 4:50pm

The holidays can be stressful enough — especially if there’s any significant amount of traveling/cooking/shopping required to pull it all together — without the added impediment of competing political agendas.

Hence the reason a Quora user tossed out this little puzzler regarding family gatherings and tea-party-loving in-laws:

“I am left-of-center/liberal and we invariably talk politics when we get together for the Holidays. She is quite passionate about ‘tea party’ issues and I want to talk with her about things but not let it ruin our holidays. Any tips?”

The idealist

Beware of judgments like “conservatives are greedy,” “Tea Party supporters are stupid,” “Republicans are racist,” and so on. If you start from the premise that someone would only hold these political views because of character flaws, just stick to discussing the weather.

The diplomat

Listen. Don’t comment, other than to reply “Let me think about that.” or “That gives me food for thought.” That will stop any argument and make you look thoughtful and at least willing to consider an alternate point of view.

the antagonist

Well, you can avoid the discussion of politics … but if you just can’t, use the nuclear option: “Mitt Romney lost because of you.”