How to avoid election conflict at the Thanksgiving table

Avoiding political conflict at thanksgiving

A lot of people are expecting this Thanksgiving to be a little more awkward and contentious after the election.

Some people on social media are even telling stories of being uninvited to Thanksgiving dinner at a relative's house because of who they voted for, or for rantings their family saw online. 

On Twitter, Trump and Clinton supporters alike shared their stories about getting uninvited from Thanksgiving.

MY NIECE'S INLAWS HAVE UNINVITED HER AND FAMILY TO THANKSGIVING DUE TO THEM VOTING FOR TRUMP! STATING TOO SOON AFTER THE ELECTION! LIBS F-D UP

— charlie sirigiano (@csirigiano) November 11, 2016

My family uninvited one of my aunts to thanksgiving Bc she voted for trump 😂😂😂😂

— Brooke (@BrookeButler0) November 9, 2016

I'm uninvited from thanksgiving dinner on my dads side because I made a political post on facebook not even directly against trump

— Gab 🌵 (@smoothiekaboody) November 10, 2016

The conflict is even prompting Pacific University to hold a seminar on how to get through the holidays with your family.

"I am going to hardcore avoid it with my family. I don't think my dad will say anything about it, it's my mom I'm worried about," said Pacific student Maygen Crawley.

"I think that many of our students are nervous about how to engage in these conversations heading home," said Peace and Social Justice assistant Professor Stephanie Stokamer.

She's helping give a presentation on how to calmly talk about politics with all of the generations and backgrounds at the table.

"It is really helpful in these kinds of conversations to not expect to win or want to change somebody's mind, but go into a conversation trying to listen and learn,"  Stokamer said. "Dinner might not be the best time to engage in those conversations if you want to enjoy your food. It might be really productive to have a walk after Thanksgiving dinner and even say to somebody, 'I would really like to talk about that with you, let's hold onto that for our after-dinner walk.' It's more difficult to fight with somebody when you're walking together than when you're in opposition at a table."

Some other tips from the experts:

1) Catch up with people first. Don't jump into politics. 

2) Offer the benefit of the doubt. Most people have good intentions.

3) Don't let imperfect or trigger words get to you.

4) Listen first, your turn is next.

Many Pacific University students said they already have a game plan.

"I think setting ground rules is really important to be able to say yes we can talk about this, or no we can't talk about this," said Josie Kochendorfer.

Tyler Kanoa will be flying home to Hawaii for the holiday. He isn't too worried.

"Whatever comes, we'll just deal with it, we're close like that. Whatever happens, it'll be okay. I think. Hopefully," he said and laughed.   

Erin Stuhldreher is taking the avoidance approach.

"A lot of my family holds really different views than me. They're generally pretty good about being moderate and not getting into fights about it. It'll be really interesting if it does come up, I'm hoping it doesn't at all," she said.

Saturday Night Live did a spoof Target commercial that's hitting home for a lot of these students. 

 


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