Columns, Opinion

Burke’s Bully Pulpit: The holidays and politics

Seeing family for the holidays is always a great time. You get to catch up with the loved ones that you haven’t seen in awhile — the laughs that you share around the table are sure to be remembered year after year.

I will admit, though, the past few years have felt a little different. Conversation is more politically charged, which can get annoying fast. People try to make everything a social issue, even if it is an offhand comment or a joke.

Showing up this Thanksgiving with a mustache and slightly dyed hair, I don’t think anyone was ready to take me seriously. Last year was different. I showed up ready to debate what I thought was wrong with the country and how I would fix it if I were in charge. I knew that fresh off of Trump’s win, many of his supporters were ready to throw their ideology down the throat of whoever was nearest. In the early stages of his administration, Trump supporters were miserable beings to talk to. It was almost like talking to a drunk Yankees fan. Nothing made sense but the words “we won.”

However, I feel like most people are starting to realize that taking a break from making everything political is good for the soul. Thanksgiving has morphed into a time to appreciate the cooks in your family. It’s a time to decide who can cook a better meal, not who can run the country better. Without getting caught up in debate, I had a much more enjoyable time this year, and I even got to sneak in a post-dinner nap during the football game.

Whether you agree with how Trump is doing things or not — save it. Virtually no one wants to hear about your bright ideas, what you agree with and what you disagree with, especially during the holiday season. While we may be saying “Merry Christmas!” again, politics has no place at parties where we are brought together to appreciate the people in our lives. Since last year’s election, people have taken themselves way too seriously. They have converted from couch potatoes to social justice warriors on social media.

If you want to have a civil conversation about what has been going on, hang out with your friends and family on your own time and do just that. I have just lost all of my care for what most people have to say, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Family is arguably the most important thing that we are gifted in life, and we should treat it as such: a gift. Why would you want to jeopardize a relationship that you have with a person who was there when you were born just because you have views that could change in three or four years?

Don’t get me wrong — I love debating people with real facts and educated opinions. It is what makes America different from the rest of the world: We can express opinions without being jailed for our beliefs, like we might be in North Korea, China or Russia. A lot of us live great lives here and take them for granted. The holiday season should be used to reflect on what we are thankful for and to let people know that we are thankful for them.

I would ask that you take a deep breath and decide to not get mad at your loved ones for their beliefs this holiday season. Be the bigger person and explain that you would rather enjoy their company without the burden of politics. Go back to the time when family could get together and enjoy some laughs over a nice plate of turkey, ham or whatever tickles their fancy.

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