AND IF UN­CLE FRED GOES BERSERK TO­DAY

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics -

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.”

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