Don’t take ar­gu­ment bait at hol­i­day din­ners

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary Securing The Navy - By Mercedes Sch­lapp

Thurs­day’s Thanks­giv­ing din­ner kicked off the an­nual hol­i­day sea­son of fam­ily get-to­geth­ers, vis­its with the rel­a­tives and fel­low­ship around the din­ner ta­ble. But this year, and this will con­tinue to be an is­sue through Christ­mas, New Year’s and other hol­i­day gath­er­ings, some house­holds will be filled with ten­sion and di­vi­sion mir­ror­ing the state of our na­tion in the af­ter­math of Elec­tion 2016. How can you sur­vive a big side dish of par­ti­san ran­cor along with your turkey left­overs or your hol­i­day ham? Here are a few thoughts:

Start with en­sur­ing that you have plenty of food and wine (al­though the lib­er­als in your fam­ily might think that you are be­ing waste­ful). Also make sure you pro­vide a “safe space” in the house where guests can find refuge if the po­lit­i­cal con­ver­sa­tion gets too heated.

You can try keep­ing the con­ver­sa­tion light, talk­ing about col­lege foot­ball or the lat­est recipe on­line, but there is a high prob­a­bil­ity that the con­ver­sa­tion will quickly shift to pol­i­tics. Things will be go­ing swim­mingly un­til your lib­eral Aunt Ruth turns to you and asks, “How could you? How could you vote for THAT man for pres­i­dent?”

Be­fore re­spond­ing, take a deep breath. No need for all-out po­lit­i­cal war. Calmly re­spond, “Trump un­der­stood the work­ing man and woman of Amer­ica and the need for change in Wash­ing­ton.”

She: “But do you re­al­ize Amer­ica does not want him as pres­i­dent? I mean Hil­lary is win­ning the pop­u­lar vote. The Elec­toral Col­lege must be elim­i­nated!”

You: “The Elec­toral Col­lege was es­tab­lished un­der Ar­ti­cle 2 of the Con­sti­tu­tion so that all states could play a role in se­lect­ing the pres­i­dent. This avoids pres­i­dents be­ing elected from just the most pop­u­lous states or re­gions. In other words, with­out the Elec­toral Col­lege, Mrs. Clin­ton or Mr. Trump would only spend time cam­paign­ing in the big states of Texas, New York or Cal­i­for­nia.”

That’s when your pro­gres­sive mil­len­nial cousin He­len, still wear­ing her faded Bernie San­ders’ blue T-shirt, chimes in: “Your Pres­i­dent-elect Mr. Trump is a racist, sex­ist misog­y­nist.” (This is a com­mon de­bat­ing tac­tic of the left — name-call­ing, an ap­proach that is both in­ef­fec­tive and an­noy­ing.)

Don’t take the bait. Re­spond gen­tly: “Mr. Trump will work hard to be the pres­i­dent of all Amer­i­cans. He is fo­cused on re­build­ing in­ner-city com­mu­ni­ties and restor­ing eco­nomic pros­per­ity. He ac­tu­ally will find com­mon ground with the pro­gres­sives in Con­gress like Se­na­tor San­ders and Se­na­tor El­iz­a­beth War­ren on is­sues like trade and in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing.”

He­len: “But what about cli­mate change? Mr. Trump thinks it’s a hoax.”

You (still gen­tly): “Don’t de­spair, my car­bon-foot­print friend. Mr. Trump just ac­knowl­edged that there is ‘some con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween hu­man ac­tiv­ity and cli­mate change.’”

Then re­mind your cousin that Mr. Trump ac­tu­ally can bring back jobs to Amer­ica, that she might fi­nally be able to move out of her par­ents’ base­ment and af­ford her own health in­sur­ance. Your ef­forts to turn away wrath may not suf­fice, but just think — af­ter eat­ing all that pump­kin pie, by then it will be just about time for ev­ery­one to leave.

Re­mem­ber — even though two weeks have passed since the elec­tion, emo­tions are still raw and the protests con­tinue in the streets. For your aunt and cousin, Mr. Trump will not be their pres­i­dent, but it’s OK. The polls and the main­stream me­dia pre­dicted that Mrs. Clin­ton would win, and they failed the lib­er­als.

Reality will even­tu­ally tri­umph. Mr. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th pres­i­dent of the United States in Jan­uary, and he will push an ag­gres­sive agenda for our econ­omy and na­tional se­cu­rity through Con­gress. And Amer­ica will sur­vive and pros­per, just like your hol­i­day din­ner. Bid a mag­nan­i­mous farewell to your aunt and your cousin as they drive away in their Toy­ota Prius, and have faith that next year’s feast will be a lit­tle more fes­tive.

Mercedes Sch­lapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and for­mer White House di­rec­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

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