Keeping political conversations civil this Thanksgiving

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Next week, families will welcome students with stuffing, turkey and pies in hand. But for a lot of us, Thanksgiving is more than just happy homecomings and overstuffed bellies. It is a time when families sit down together and have real, undisturbed conversations, conversations that, despite our best efforts, can turn to divisive topics like politics.

This is especially true for this year’s Thanksgiving, which is coming on the heels of an extremely controversial election. Protests across the country and trending #NotMyPresident posts indicate that the divisive campaigns have left deep wounds.

Each election is divisive in nature – someone wins and someone loses – but this election has been acutely personal. President-elect Donald Trump’s strategy of employing personal attacks, most notably calling his opponent a “nasty woman,” has made it standard to invalidate others’ opinions by attacking their character.

It can be particularly tempting to engage in these personal attacks in the candid, comfortable setting of a family gathering like Thanksgiving. However, the fallout from such disagreements may not be worth the trouble.

So try to bite your tongue – or stuff your mouth with turkey – to avoid this topic. It is more important than ever that instead of lashing out, we heal wounds and respect the country’s democratic system.

If the topic does arise, there are a few things to keep in mind for a civil conversation.

If you are a Hillary supporter, remember that most Trump supporters probably did not vote for him because they support racist, sexist and other bigoted positions. Most voters chose the candidate who they thought would make American lives better at the end of the day, just as you did.

If you are a Trump supporter confronting a family of heartbroken Hillary voters, be sensitive to their disappointment. Explain your true motivations and emphasize the common goal of improving the country. And while you may feel pressured to defend your vote, make sure you distinguish your views from those of your candidate.

This presidency will last four to eight years, but family lasts a lifetime. The family unit is the foundation of American society. Holiday memories are forever, so cherish them instead of ruining your Turkey Day over pointless squabbling. If dinner does devolve into mindless insults, you can always enforce this foolproof rule for a peaceful Thanksgiving: be nice, or you don’t get any pie.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

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