The Moneyist: If you want to speak politics over Thanksgiving dinner, observe these guidelines of engagement

MarketWatch illustration

In 2020, in a politically polarized America, life can feel like an unhappy marriage – unless, in this case, divorce isn't a cure.

After the elections, the country feels bitterly divided. What if your family has conflicting political beliefs? Are you doing Thanksgiving? If it's a virtual opportunity, this situation may be easier to deal with. If you think you're going to explode, mute yourself and hold your finger over the zoom
+ 3.78%
Mute button for other hotheads too.

When dealing with perceived trifles and real insults between friends, enemies or relatives, it is best not to tell that person exactly what you think of them via text or email. Don't send Facebook messages. Don't let up
+ 37.59%,
and please don't tweet out of love for God
+ 2.65%
Your views. That could ruin your career as well as your relationship with the in-laws.

Thanksgiving dinner already has a turkey and doesn't require two headless chickens battling for the soul of the nation.

Thanksgiving dinner usually offers a chance to share the view face to face. What you say in this mode cannot be taken as evidence against you, and it cannot be screenshot taken and posted on a billboard in Times Square. But poorly chosen words at dinner still cannot be taken back.

It is difficult to apply perfect diplomacy after a long drive or an even longer dinner. Whatever your feelings about President Donald Trump's refusal to let the vote go, as more states confirm the results or take President-elect Joe Biden's decisions in the cabinet, bite your tongue.

Conversations about how Columbus managed to “discover” a land already populated by indigenous peoples and why people should wear masks indoors can also be sensitive topics, even if these are opportunities for family and intergenerational edification could.

Conclusion: With a few glasses of wine and resentment from Thanksgivings from the past, the rule of thumb “Avoid this, avoid this” is theoretically good, but rarely works in practice. And while health experts advise people not to travel, an estimated 50 million Americans will do so this year.

When do you have family Thanksgiving? Continue reading.

Follow these 5 rules of engagement:

1. When things get hot, think about the good qualities of your sparring partner. You can always find something. He loves his wife. She is a good mother. Or, try to put yourself in their shoes, always a compassionate act. He had a bad childhood and didn't have the same opportunities. Or she had a privileged upbringing that protected her from many of life's difficulties and hardships.

2. So what happens if the call is up for election? A question is better than a statement. "Why are you saying that?" is better than "You Liberals / Conservatives are all a bunch …" But avoid questions that start with "Don't you think so …?" begin. Nobody likes to be told what to think.

3. Tell them how you feel, not what they are. If your sibling or sister-in-law says you can't joke, hold on to what she said and say again: "It hurt my feelings." Avoid: "You are not a good democrat …" or: "You are a GOP-loving …"

Connected:Dr. Fauci on Cuomo's decision to review vaccines for New Yorkers: "Trust the process because it's a solid process"

Getty Images / iStockphoto / MarketWatch

The money is:"I am nobody's ATM": I am 27 years old, successful and always pay for my friends. How do I stop without making them angry?

4. When your mother-in-law says, “I wanted Daisy to marry a Republican like her father” or “I wanted Jack to marry a Democrat like his first wife, Laurie. I miss Laurie. "Don't react or lie. Smiling politely (or sarcastically) at such an unflattering comment can feel like you're taking moral superiority, but it rarely makes us feel better or help. Try," Daisy did good taste. "or" Jack knows best. "

5. Thanksgiving dinner already has a turkey and it doesn't need two headless chickens fighting for the soul of the nation. If your die-hard Conservative mom or dad is bleeding hearted to cast out demons by trying to wake yours, don't play along. Say, "Enough is enough," take out the playing cards, and suggest a game of gin rummy.

What if that doesn't keep the peace? Take a deep breath – and think about the legacy.

Even so, there is some good news ahead of Turkey Day. The Dow Jones industrial average
topped 30,000 for the first time on Tuesday as the transfer of power to the Biden government was pushed ahead, although the blue chip index lost above that level on Wednesday during the S&P 500
down 0.16%.

Take a breath before you have your first glass of wine. We have a better chance of controlling our adrenaline, our heart rate, and therefore our emotions, when we do this. If you're not meditating, now is a good time to start. You will not be able to change other people's political beliefs. Trying to control what others are doing or thinking or saying is a breeze. Ultimately, it's mainly our salary levels.

Quentin Fottrell is the Moneyist columnist for MarketWatch. You can email The Moneyist at with any financial or ethical questions. Would you like to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns Here.

Hello, MarketWatchers. Check out Moneyist's private Facebook
Group in which we look for answers to life's toughest money problems. The readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or check out the latest Moneyist columns.

Related Articles