Political Stress Spices Up Holiday Dinners

Kendyl Beam, Staff Writer

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Family holidays can be a stressful time. Since the 2016 election, many feel the holidays have become even more stressful. Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that can cause controversy at the dinner table as family members from all walks of life often show up for holiday gatherings. Between keeping the peace at the dinner table and dealing with all those relatives asking “Why aren’t you in a relationship yet?”, it’s no wonder why these can be stressful times.

With elections on the first Tuesday in November and Thanksgiving landing on the fourth Thursday in November, emotions still run strong during the holiday. A recent report from ABC News found that 38% of people surveyed thought the idea of discussing politics during Thanksgiving to be stressful. Also, according to The New York Times, every 1,000 political ads aired were associated with an additional 2.6 minutes off the length of Thanksgiving dinner.

“The 2016 election made our country divisive, and I think it is only going to get worse,” global perspectives and ethnic studies teacher Mark Adamski said.

But what is it about the 2016 election that divided our country? Adamski believes that the controversy comes more from Donald Trump himself, rather than his policies. Trump has been known to say disrespectful things in the media concerning immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. Many of the contentious statements from our president have created even more taboo subjects for the holiday dinner table.

When it comes to the holidays, there is a chance that your family members will have different political views than you. If you are in a situation where a family member starts bringing up politics, try not to lose your cool. The easiest way to start an argument is by yelling. Start by trying to hear what the other person has to say, then calmly respond. If you are political, this will be very hard to do, but it might save you from a huge argument that could have a lasting impact.

Some people are scared to bring up politics at holidays and many families choose to avoid the arguments by not to talking about politics at all. “I am glad our family decided it is best to not talk politics at family gatherings,” grandmother of eight, Candi Beam said. “It can cause anger and frustration on both side,” Beam said.

No matter your political views, it is not worth getting into a big family fight. It is always okay to state your opinion and have a calm conversation about it, but don’t let it go further by not respecting their opinion. Don’t forget that people will always have different opinions than you, and that is okay.