Don’t Talk Politics! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

There is no better way to ruin a holiday or an otherwise happy family than by arguing about politics. I’m sure I am not the only one who has said something like that and I won’t be the last. 

Accordingly I have drawn up a set of optional rules and presumptions that I think should apply to political conversation, should you wish to accept them. And to start with my first rule, just because I said it doesn’t make it so. 

  1. If you don’t accept the rules, don’t talk about politics.
  2. If you must talk about politics here are the rules:
    1. Make it fun. Don’t make it contest of wills. You are both going to lose on that. Neither one will ever change their perspective on life, except on their own terms — not yours. But you can both win if you look for things that you actually share in common. For example, a majority of all voters wanted to disruption in Washington DC. They got it in Trump. Many if not most would have accepted it from Bernie Sanders. Practically everyone knows on some level that they got screwed by government and the courts which rubber stamped fraudulent bank activity. Everyone still hates the big banks. But new startups are challenging the big banks. Talk about that.
    2. Joke about ideas not about people. 
    3. Accept that all views are within the scope and intent of American politics. No point of view is inherently unpatriotic unless it seeks the overthrow of the US Government or the abandonment of the US Constitution and the laws. Example: Lots of people are worried about guns. Start with the premise that the 2d Amendment does not permit outlawing guns but does permit regulation. So if you want to take away the guns you need to change the constitution but if you want a nuclear missile in your backyard you can’t do that either. Talk about that.
    4. Your pundit is no better than their pundit. Don’t quote pundits from the media. Whether it is Hannity or Maddow their pitch is identical: “Here is what we think will keep you watching our show and advertisements instead of doing something more productive with your life.” Personally I think that 24 hour news relating the same stories over and over again is absurd. Daily shows in my opinion should be made weekly. The stupidest news stories this year were weather reporters standing their ground against a dangerous storm. Talk about that.
    5. Accept and assume that neither Trump supporters nor opponents have any monopoly on intelligence or information. Each group has the same range of intelligence and information. All groups have partial information, some of it true and some of it false. Attacking a specific assertion of fact is like noticing a blemish on an otherwise spectacularly beautiful person. 
    6. Accept and assume that Republicans and Democrats share the common goal of enhancing everyday life and opportunities for all Americans, especially themselves. Assume that the methods differ but that both have failed and succeeded. Talk about that.
    7. Accept and assume that Trump voters were not voting against their interests but rather willing to sacrifice some interests for the sake of other interests.
    8. Trump ran on disruption and kept his promise. He won on that and he governs on that. There is no shock. He is one of the few candidates that ran on a promise and kept it. 
    9. Accept and assume that for conservative  voters the point is disruption of an unresponsive system that disrespects, ignores and leaves them behind. For most of them it is not about bias and racism. For most, the dog whistle is about hatred of a corrupt system not hatred of people. Bias and racism exists on both sides of the aisle.
    10. Accept and assume that liberal or progressive voters are right when they seek to protect the equal rights of all humans on the planet. You can disagree with when and how all you want. But you are both on the same side of the goal. That is the point of being the United States of America. 

7 Responses

  1. You are on my thank you list Mr Garfield! Wish happy healthy long life

  2. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Nearly 7 In 10 Americans in a survey say that they’d give up giving gifts during holiday season. Good luck with economy.

  3. T..U..R..K..E..Y … T..I..M..E … !!!!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving! We can b the middle ground

  5. Amen! Love to all. Know thine adversary – it is not your neighbor.

  6. Great blog post Neil. Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone else.

  7. I never thought I would be here ten years later saying: “Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!”

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