I’m not sure exactly when it started – maybe around the time “Pajama Boy” was trotted out to encourage talking up Obamacare during the holidays, though it may even predate him. But this push to have “meaningful” conversations with family about the latest political hot takes over the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table is for the birds.
I’ve lost count of the number of concern troll-y headlines and tweets instructing readers as to how to turn holiday meals into debate forums. I’ve seen this one bouncing about Twitter the past day or two and glanced at it just enough to roll my eyes:
THREAD: Thanksgiving is Thursday & many of you may be spending the holiday with friends & family members who are uncertain about impeachment. Here’s a guide for talking with them impeachment:pic.twitter.com/b07e4P16e6
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) November 26, 2019
Perhaps I’m feeling extra ornery this morning as the 55 mph winds that have been buffeting my abode over the past 10 hours wreaked havoc on my ability to catch any worthwhile sleep. But when I stumbled across yet another such tweet this morning — this time from the AP — I snapped.
Enough with this crap. I’m worried my Dad won’t be strong enough to transition from wheelchair to car and vice-versa or alert enough to enjoy what will almost certainly be his last Thanksgiving with us. I’d LOVE it if he were able to talk politics. #BeThankful https://t.co/4z267mgh50
— Susie Moore (@SmoosieQ) November 27, 2019
As implied in my response, my Dad is not well. He’s 86 and suffering from Alzheimer’s and congestive heart failure. He took another fall about a month ago and, after hospitalization and several weeks in a rehabilitation facility, is finally back home – with hospice and round-the-clock caregivers. He’s extremely frail and weak and I’m not even 100% certain he’ll be up for the car ride to my brother’s tomorrow, though we intend to try. On top of worrying about him, I’m worried about my Mom, as well. She’s in much better health but, in addition to caring for my Dad, is carrying the heartache of watching her life partner and love of 67 years slip away.
So, no, I’m really not all that concerned about what MoveOn, or some “etiquette coach”, or the AP have to say about side rooms and moderators or Trump and impeachment. Shut the hell up.
We’re political junkies in my family. Some of my earliest memories are of helping my Dad put up campaign signs. Politics do come up sometimes during family dinners — organically. And when and if they do, we hash stuff out, debate, agree, disagree (I’m the lone conservative in the family, at present), and go on about our turkey and mashed potatoes. And pumpkin or pecan pie.
We don’t need guided conversation compliments of a news organization or an etiquette coach. Know why? Because we’re family and we love each other and we haven’t lost sight of the fact that enjoying our time with one another is a thousand times more valuable than virtue signaling or scoring political points.
Something is fundamentally wrong with our culture if we need safe spaces and a moderator to have conversations about things we might disagree on with family members. https://t.co/2bJBSac6ML
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) November 27, 2019
So, tomorrow, I’m going to fix up my green bean casserole and go to my parents’ house and pick them up and drive them to my brother’s. I’m going to hope and pray that Dad’s having a good day and is able to get in and out of the car okay and enjoy what will likely be his last Thanksgiving dinner with his family. And I’m going to love and appreciate my time with my family. And be thankful.