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Upcoming holiday gatherings?
Old 10-26-2016, 09:22 AM   #1
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Upcoming holiday gatherings?

Please don't let this devolve into a political discussion of any sort.

Ok, with the election occurring just before Thanksgiving and Christmas does anyone feel the need to ask family to not discuss anything related to politics?
We will be at a gathering with new family members that apparently have very different political and philosophical views that we do. We want this to be a nice gathering so I'm thinking of asking them all to please not discuss any of this. I've seen too many discussions ruin family and friend relationships especially in this upcoming election. And this animosity can last for years.
So what do you think: ban political discussions?
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:26 AM   #2
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Nope, but we've come to an unspoken agreement to avoid the subject generally and only discuss items we agree upon for more than a very brief time (generally along the lines of "well I think XYZ" with a response of "well, you can think that, but I disagree, so how about [insert new topic]".
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:41 AM   #3
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I think we fall into exnavynuke's way of things. If with people we care about (and why else would we be with them!?), I strive to find the areas of common interest that can be discussed without flaming up. Sometimes that can be philosophy, evolutionary biology, or political economy.

As for current politics, I don't know of any major party voter enthused about whose electoral college member they'll be voting for in November. Some, however, are overly exuberant about whose they are not voting for .... Discussions in this area would likely consist of sighs and eyerolls. If more than that, time to move on.
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:52 AM   #4
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We have a family wedding this weekend, and given the mix of elephants and donkeys in the group, I expect that the political discussions will center around hate talk of the "other" candidate. I will try to turn any discussions back to my niece and nephew-to-be and the wedding, hoping to end the discussions. Thanksgiving will be almost all one sided, so I probably should put a politic free zone sign up.
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:55 AM   #5
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Almost everyone at our Thanksgiving table votes the same way but like money (and like this forum!) we don't ever discuss politics at any time anyway.
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:59 AM   #6
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:01 AM   #7
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Ok, with the election occurring just before Thanksgiving and Christmas does anyone feel the need to ask family to not discuss anything related to politics?
I like to think that I wasn't raised by wolves (which I suppose is up for debate), but anyway my family has never considered it to be good form to discuss religion or politics at all at the dinner table or on holidays.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:16 AM   #8
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Like I said in my original post this is a "new" family for us. At our traditional family gatherings almost all have the same views and political discussions are usually avoided or lightly joked about then move on. However at this "new" family gathering we will definitely be the outcasts. I don't know enough about them yet to know if they like to discuss issues or not. So I'm just thinking of a way to avoid any discussions which could possibly lead to problems. This will not be at our house so we'll be guests. And I've made it clear to my wife that I'll leave at the first mention of politics. Just don't want to look like the "@ss". Like many people I am firmly entrenched in my political, philosophical, and religious views and have no plans or desires to change any of them. I only discuss these issues with close friends and never with just acquaintances or strangers. However this gathering will be uncharted territory.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:20 AM   #9
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It's kind of a basic understanding of courtesy not to discuss politics or religion in polite company.

I think it's unnecessary to establish this rule in advance - it should be known. Anyone that breaches it could be quickly reminded, should they be that dense.

If you still feel the need to establish the ground rules in advance, ideally, this would be done by the host/hostess of the dinner, and not another guest or family member. It would be out of bounds for one guest to show up and try to set the expectation, imo, family or not.

You mention leaving? Why not just decline to participate by just being polite. Leaving might send a message to your adversary, but leave a ripple in your family for years to come.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:21 AM   #10
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Would it work to float the concern by whomever is your link to the new family members and suggest that s/he suggest off limits prior to the gathering?

In your original post, I envisioned you standing on the table and announcing: "I decree that there shall be no discussion of this." Obviously, that wouldn't be the way you'd approach it, but if you raise it yourself, it could be perceived that way by people who don't know you well.

E.T.A.--Aerides beat me to it with the last paragraph.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:23 AM   #11
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I have some problems with ill-informed and very vocal political family members. This year, a lot of that has been muted because the presidential candidates for both sides are so flawed. While there is still some danger of complaining about the other side, there is no crowing about any candidate who can fix the perceived problems.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:47 AM   #12
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Rather than trying to set ground rules at the beginning, which might be off-putting to your new family, why not just wait and see? If the topics of politics comes up, be prepared with a statement: "I sense that we do not agree on this topic. Let's not ruin a beautiful day with a disagreeable conversation. Please pass the gravy"
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:49 AM   #13
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Probably my brother, but we disagree on so much that we don't talk to each other much, and I will probably just walk away from him.


My neighbor used want to talk politics just about every time he saw me. He passed away earlier this year. Really nice guy, and I miss him, but I don't miss that aspect at all.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:56 AM   #14
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I just say that I was raised to not discuss religion and politics and leave it at that. Then, change the topic of the discussion.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:56 AM   #15
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Rather than trying to set ground rules at the beginning, which might be off-putting to your new family, why not just wait and see? If the topics of politics comes up, be prepared with a statement: "I sense that we do not agree on this topic. Let's not ruin a beautiful day with a disagreeable conversation. Please pass the gravy"
This is why I no longer visit my family. This statement would be viewed as a sign of weakness and the pile on would start in full. Their view, I guess, is that only MY day would be ruined by the discussion. They all would be having a grand old time.
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Old 10-26-2016, 10:56 AM   #16
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We'll discuss politics at the Thanksgiving table. I'm rather used to being out numbered in terms of political leanings; I may say a quiet word or two but typically don't choose to engage the discussion too much when and if it takes a political bent. This year we will actually be far more cohesive in mutually opining about the whole weird year. . .
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:40 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by folivier View Post
Like I said in my original post this is a "new" family for us. At our traditional family gatherings almost all have the same views and political discussions are usually avoided or lightly joked about then move on. However at this "new" family gathering we will definitely be the outcasts. I don't know enough about them yet to know if they like to discuss issues or not. So I'm just thinking of a way to avoid any discussions which could possibly lead to problems. This will not be at our house so we'll be guests. And I've made it clear to my wife that I'll leave at the first mention of politics. Just don't want to look like the "@ss". Like many people I am firmly entrenched in my political, philosophical, and religious views and have no plans or desires to change any of them. I only discuss these issues with close friends and never with just acquaintances or strangers. However this gathering will be uncharted territory.
I underlined a statement that concerns me.
As a guest you should avoid controversy - that includes avoiding walking out of a dinner because someone broached an opinion you don't agree with.

When I'm put in the situation you describe (which happens) I either stay quiet (keep my opinions to myself), change the subject (keep my opinion to myself), or, if asked directly, politely state that my opinion is different but I'd rather not get into it.

At no point would I make a grand exit just because someone has a different view.
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Old 10-26-2016, 12:10 PM   #18
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I underlined a statement that concerns me.
As a guest you should avoid controversy - that includes avoiding walking out of a dinner because someone broached an opinion you don't agree with.

When I'm put in the situation you describe (which happens) I either stay quiet (keep my opinions to myself), change the subject (keep my opinion to myself), or, if asked directly, politely state that my opinion is different but I'd rather not get into it.

At no point would I make a grand exit just because someone has a different view.
+1

Keeping quiet, polite nodding, and/or subtly changing the subject are tactics that have worked very well for me over the years.
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Old 10-26-2016, 12:11 PM   #19
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I could care less about politics so whatever is said won't matter.

Yes, if you pick up your side dish and leave at the first mention of politics you will look exactly what you don't want to look like. Not only that but your wife will hate you for the rest of the day and maybe well into next week.
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Old 10-26-2016, 12:29 PM   #20
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+1

Keeping quiet, polite nodding, and/or subtly changing the subject are tactics that have worked very well for me over the years.
Years ago, 1982?, my parents came to visit us for 3 days in the Midwest from FL. The conversation turned to political topics and DF did not like our opinions. He blew up at our position and spent the last days not speaking to either of us.

Yeah it's best to nod and agree.
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