I got this idea from a comment on my yesterday's diary, from a poster who made the point that not only are liberals your supposed friends, often times they are your relatives. They are also the ones you run into at Thanksgiving gatherings.
They are the ones who make snide political comments about Republicans and conservatism. Again, they are loud, bombastic and they have no filter. To make matters worse, they seem to be able to make comments freely in this forum and you can't. Why is that?
You can't because if you do, it will start an argument and create strife at the dinner table. If you engage them passionately, you will most likely upset Nana who is getting on in years and this may be her last Thanksgiving, and it would be a shame if it had to be one where an argument broke out. Or there might be kids around. Or(and this is not mine) Uncle Fed has a weak heart. The list goes on. So what do you do?
You end up playing peacemaker. You end up trying to clarify and making neutral comments. And sometimes you will get singled out as the lone conservative. With that said, I am here to tell you that you do not have to take that crud anymore and you are under no obligation to engage with them in a debate. Here are three options that you can choose from to handle this situation.
When you hear a negative comment regarding your political beliefs you respond by doing and saying the following.
- "Ethel or Norman, you may already know this, but if you don't, I happen to be a conservative."
- "I find your point rather curious and really would like to get feedback from the others on how they feel about it."
- Then point to a family member and ask them directly. Then go to another and ask them directly. Let's say for fun they agree with everything that Ethel or Norman has said.
- You then ask if everyone else is in agreement. If they say yes, then you say " I happen to disagree but there is no point in having this discussion and arguing the minority opinion. "Then you indicate you will finish up your dinner and will politely excuse yourself,
- You wait for the smoke to clear. Then you turn to Ethel or Norman and say, "Ethel or Norman, lets you and I talk later at such and such time in the parlor, that is if you are up to it( and if your name is plumely you add "if you think you are brave enough.")
Bingo! You have just called her or him out in front of everyone and now challenged them to a duel at high noon. Now what you do after that is up to you.
My reccomendation is to live in the moment and let him or her have it, in private. Don't worry about making sense just express quickly, in soft tones, the menacing anger you feel, then leave the room. The other scenario is that he or she will not show up to this gunfight. Chances are they will not, because like you thought, he or she is a coward and crave an audience.
You are at the table and there are kids. Ethel, or Norman, makes a snide comment, either directed at you or Republicans in general. Here is what you do.
- "Ethel or Norman, you may already know this, but if you don't, I am a conservative."
- After the smoke clears, you turn to the kids and say"Hey kids how'd you like to play a game as soon as your done with dinner. Wait for their response. If yes, you get up, and before you do, you look at Ethel or Norman "any one else is welcome to join us if you want an alternative to one-sided political discussion." You wink when you say this and then leave. If they say no, you then say "Please excuse me, I will be in the living room if anyone wants to join me for an alternative to this one-sided political discussion."
The kids will definately join you and some others might as well. Again, you have just challenged Norman or Ethel's authority and have given others at the table options and an exit if they so choose.
Now the last part of this is , what if Ethel or Norman decide to join you? This is where you have a brief and stern word with them before the game about how this will be a no comment zone because we do not want to upset the children, or any others with weak constitutions. Makes sure they are clear on this point.
You know exactly what will happen if you speak up and respond to a snide political comment made by Ethel or Norman. They will skewer you and call you names in a joking manner. So, here is what you do.
- You will realize that the only way to deal with Ethel or Norman is to grab them and throttle them. Why? Because you cannot argue with them, reason with them or for that matter even talk to them. But you know you can't throttle them, so, you let it go. Now, imagining the physical act is important. It has a calming effect on your mind in that it releases you from racking your brain thinking and dreaming up ways you could verbally tear them apart. You have to try it to understand what I am saying.
- Then with that in mind, you make sure you have as little contact with them as possible. You are polite and coldly professional to them and sweet and friendly to others.
- After dinner you excuse yourself and say you need to go for a walk but you'll be in the livingroom afterwards if anyone wants to join. If Norman or Ethel join you and the others in the room, you clear your throat so they can hear you and ask an other family member if you can speak to them privately because you need to bounce something off of them. After asking this, you make a sour grape face at Norman or Ethel.
I hope this answers and addresses the poster's concerns and questions about how to deal with obnoxious liberal family members.
I will let this stand as is so as not to bump other diaries. Let me know if there are edits that can't be ignored regarding spelling or typos.