Avoiding Politics At The Thanksgiving Table

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours--and congratulations.

You’ve survived the traditional night at the local tavern with all your knucklehead high-school buddies who came home for the holiday. Now your only remaining hurdle is to survive the political discussion around the dinner table later on today.

A new national poll found 58 percent of us are dreading the idea of discussing politics with our relatives. Even among Republicans, who theoretically might be more eager for this given their party’s control of the White House and both branches of Congress, just 38 percent are eager to talk politics.

We live in polarized times, and the internet is full of advice on how to steer clear of political arguments today that might spoil the occasion. There are tips on how to change the subject if it comes up, and if that fails, how to defuse the situation before things get tense.

Some of the advice seems dubious. For instance, an article in USA Today suggests handling a relative who keeps pushing the political talk by asking: “Why are you so concerned about getting me to agree?” Oh yeah, that’ll defuse things.

And they recommend defusing a nasty escalation of rhetoric by deferring further conversation until you’re away from the table and can speak to your antagonist privately, as if that’s going to turn down the temperature.

I appreciate all this effort, but I recommend doing what we did last year and will do again today – tell arrivals that political talk is welcome – but only out in the backyard, with the dog.

 It worked like a charm last time, although Buddy the Lab is still mad at me.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

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