A Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving after the Election

By Rachel Rippetoe | November 17, 2016 10:24pm

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Thanksgiving is coming around the corner and for some this means acorn-adorned centerpieces, turkey, pumpkin pie and warm family memories.

For others it means screaming matches with out-of-touch grandpas who confidently exert that global warming is a hoax and mutter racist comments under their breath.

It’s easy for the holidays to lose their luster when you can’t even finish your sweet potato casserole without wanting to chuck your plate at your uncle. And regardless of your political beliefs, this year’s election could bring out the worst in anyone.

In order to avoid World War III from breaking out in your living room, here are some tips on how to stay sane and give your vocal chords a break during Thanksgiving with the family.

There’s the obvious one: Avoid political topics all together. After the whirlwind of drama this election has produced, this seems almost impossible, but there are a few maneuvers you can pull to make sure the conversation stays away from the “p” word.

1. Anytime someone mentions the election, pull a Nick Miller and cuff your hands around your ears, close your eyes and sing “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.                                                        

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2. Make a list of “no-no words.” Write them on a giant sheet of paper and hang it up near the dinner table with a mason jar sitting next to it. If anyone says a “no no word,” they have to put a dollar in the jar.

3. When two dinner guests start to verge on a heated debate about politics, push yourself in between them and grab both of their hands. Alternate your deep, uncomfortable eye contact with both of them and then start singing, “This land is your land...”

4. If you sense an argument coming on, develop a sudden allergy to peanuts and go into anaphylactic shock. No one will remember what they were talking about before.

5. If someone asks you a question about your political preferences at the dinner table, just start shoving turkey and mashed potatoes into your mouth as fast as you can. Point to your cheeks filled with cranberry sauce and mumble “I’m chewing!” Repeat for the next hour. Warning: choking may ensue.

6. If you really just can’t get anyone to shut up about the hell fires of the electoral college, stand up and say “Fine! You want to talk politics? Let’s talk politics!” Pull them all into the living room, gear up Netflix and start watching “The West Wing.” And be sure to talk through every scene. “Isn’t Rob Lowe cute, mom?” “I just love the way Toby Ziegler talks about mandatory minimums, don’t you Uncle Tom?”

If you’re of age, there are also a few political drinking games that might ease your pain.

1. Anytime someone mentions Trump’s tiny hands, pour another ounce of rum in your eggnog.

2. Every time someone shows you a Joe Biden meme, take a sip of your wine.

3. Anytime someone says “make America great again,” shotgun a beer.

4. When someone mentions Hillary Clinton’s emails, pour yourself another glass of champagne.

5. Anytime someone says “Don’t worry, Congress will reel him in.” Take a shot.

6. If someone says “lock her up!” just leave and uber to a bar because you don’t need that kind of negative energy in your life.

Here are some alternative conversation topics that are sure to never verge into political territory:

1. Leonard Cohen died! He would want us to all love each other and not fight, right? We have to honor his death. Just turn on “Hallelujah” and have a good cry.

2. Puppies. Everybody likes puppies. Prepare an entire photo gallery on your phone of puppies to show everyone when they start to get a little antsy. They don’t have to be your puppies. They just have to be cute.

3. Speaking of photo galleries, have you gone on any good trips lately? Traveled abroad? Maybe just gone on a hike at Multnomah Falls? Hook your phone up to a big TV screen and show everyone your pictures. Go very slowly through all of them and describe your experiences in vivid detail. “This one’s of when I made it to the top of that hill!” “This one is from after I tripped on a rock and fell down the hill!”

Most importantly, remember that a presidential term lasts four years, but family lasts forever. Try and look past the topics that divide you and remember what Thanksgiving is all about! (Minus the whole land-stealing, genocide thing).

And if you have to go back to a home that makes you feel unsafe or unwanted, remember that there are tons of people on the Bluff who love you and will be here waiting for you when you get back.

Happy Turkey Day, Pilots!

B