AND IF UNCLE FRED GOES BERSERK TODAY
Family togetherness even at Thanksgiving can be tricky when the topic of national health care comes along. There are best practices afoot, apparently.
“If you’re a liberal and your uncle says something crazy about Obamacare? Do you try to correct him?” Luke O’Neil, an Esquire magazine contributor, asked former Maine senator and diplomatic envoy George Mitchell.
“It depends on the circumstances. Nobody likes to be embarrassed in front of a crowd. If I thought it was really egregiously wrong I would probably wait till later and privately, say ‘I just want to let you know I don’t think what you said is correct.’ There’s no need to upset a whole family dinner by pointing out errors publicly,” Mr. Mitchell replied. “What if he goes berserk? Mr. O’Neil countered. “The most important thing is to have patience and perseverance. Don’t respond in kind. If someone who is angry runs into someone who is calm, they tend to calm down. Don’t add any fuel to fire. It’s a little difficult when people have been drinking — so it’ll take a little bit of patience,” Mr. Mitchell said.
He later added, “I think you often can persuade people on a particular issue, despite political difference. It’s the same as conflict resolution. You have to identify what their self-interest is, and figure out a way to accommodate that. That’s the essence of negotiating, understand what the person’s real bottom line is, and try to accommodate it.”