Thanksgiving aka Presidential Debate round IV
November 15, 2016 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Holding my head up high at Thanksgiving, with the majority of my relatives as Hillary supporters. But, of course, there's at least ONE person who is fiscally conservative and has been following conservative & libertarian blogs / news. I can't turn back time, but I intend to fight misinformation as much as I can at the dinner table.

Askme, I need your help to compile facts and evidence to refute some of the claims of Hillary corruption (e.g. - Clinton Foundation funds funneling, Benghazi (UGH), etc etc). And if I can't, well, I'll just have to shove a whole pumpkin pie in his face. Please help me keep things civil at my Thanksgiving family dinner.
posted by hampanda to Law & Government (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Here is a fantastic and super-useful thread on Twitter about successfully discussing political topics with people who disagree with you by actual rhetorician and communications analyst Bailey Poland.

Hopefully it won't turn out like my "conversation" with a conservative relative turned out on Sunday, with him chasing me down and shoving me in the chest while he barked about how Hillary belongs in jail!
posted by incessant at 8:35 PM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

Matt Yglesias wrote a very detailed explanation of the FBI investigation of Secretary Clinton's private email server.
posted by mbrubeck at 9:06 PM on November 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

I think I'd ask if there was a point when they would stop supporting Trump. What would it take? Sadly, Clinton is immaterial at this point, in my opinion.
posted by salvia at 9:54 PM on November 15, 2016 [5 favorites]

Don't do this. Don't talk politics - you're not going to convince anyone they're wrong despite the facts. Talk about football and the family. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:54 PM on November 15, 2016 [24 favorites]

The most effective fight-stopping I've ever witnessed at a Thanksgiving dinner was when another person said suddenly and loudly to me, as I was observing the bout with a huge grimace on my face "Well! I sure do need another drink, would you like to try a different wine?" and even though I had barely sipped my current glass I went "yes! I would LOVE another drink!" and the fighting people stopped and looked at us and realized how uncomfortable they had made us feel and dropped it.

The turkey day dinner table isn't so much the right place for this, if your intention is civility. I advocate strongly for cutting off any incoming fights with pointed suggestions of second helpings or refreshing of drinks or viewing of baby/dog pictures, and hashing that shit out elsewhere during the day, be it before the meal or after, when the jerkwad in question is overly full and perhaps tipsy. Of course don't let them hold court and rant their lies during dinner, either, but nothing gets a conservative's hackles up like dropping truth bombs among the cranberry relish. Save that for afters. They probably know they're dining with a bunch of libruls and it won't be too difficult to convey to them that they are the ones being rude and making everyone feel bad at dinner, as long as you and some allies convey your intense discomfort.
posted by Mizu at 9:56 PM on November 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

"Uncle Gene, I think those subjects are important, too, but there's no way we can do them justice in between bites of turkey/while the game is on. How about we swap a couple of links tomorrow via email? Aww man, third and long again? C'mon, Hawkeyes. This looks like a two-beer half."

Depart for kitchen. Leave for a brisk walk. Send him no emails. Don't read his. Lay low until next holiday gathering.
posted by Caxton1476 at 10:31 PM on November 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

Wow, I really disagree with the "lay low" sentiment. Politics at the dinner table isn't civil? Well neither is appointing a white supremacist to a position of power.

You might have more luck by first building some common ground; are there things you do agree with this person on? E.g. Anti-semitism is bad? Start with those things. Ask what they hope to have happen for the country.

I think it is wasted effort to fight about Clinton at this point, now it's about the future, and about breaking the false-news propagation.
posted by nat at 10:39 PM on November 15, 2016 [10 favorites]

They're fiscally conservative? I would not be so sure they voted for Trump, this year. Wait until he brings it up. If you want, you can also use the reports from the latest election FPP about how the transition team is all chaos and incompetence.
posted by corb at 1:12 AM on November 16, 2016 [4 favorites]

If there was ever a year to simply pass on going to Thanksgiving dinner, man, this would be it. Certainly my plan, and I recommend it to everyone, I mean, how much stress can one handle in a year, and why add more to the pile? Perhaps you have lots to give thanks for in 2016, but in my world, nope, nothing, nada. This cursed year can't be over soon enough. YMMV
posted by dbiedny at 5:28 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I've long given up trying to convince anyone of anything political at Thanksgiving. My dad and I used to have raging arguments that, in retrospect, accomplished nothing other than ruining our limited time together as a family. If you are going to argue about politics, I see little point in arguing about Hillary. Good or bad, she lost and she's not coming back as a candidate. More productive to argue about specific items of policy or direction for the country. You might even find areas of agreement that way.
posted by Mid at 7:13 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

You might be interested in this Vox (I know I know) article.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:39 AM on November 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'd back away not only from discussing Hillary but also from discussing specific policy and current events. Keep it as easy-breezy as possible, and limit your pushback to statements of racism/misogyny/antisemitism/transphobia/homophobia/etc. Think of what the best outcome would be: at this point, it's for your family member(s) to come around on some of those essential prejudices. You can plant a seed for them to grow sympathy and stop demonizing others.
posted by witchen at 11:15 AM on November 16, 2016

Why changing somebody's mind, or yours, is hard to do (Psychology Today, 2010)
... So the next time you want to have a truly open-minded conversation on a contentious topic with someone who disagrees with you, don't launch right into the facts. Ask them to tell you about some wonderful thing they did, or success they had, or positive feedback they got for something. And try to remember something like that about yourself. Then you might actually have a conversation, instead of the argument you're headed for instead.
You can't fight contrary views with facts, and in fact, you might be shoving the person into a corner and making them less likely to change their mind.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:58 PM on November 16, 2016

Thanks, everyone. Appreciate the advice to not bring up politics during Thanksgiving, but I'm 100% sure the relative will come in with a number of Hillary "factoids" and share them loudly with others during the day. I know they didn't vote Democratic, as they plastered their results all over social media.

Great advice on how to build common ground. Given the context, it would just be helpful to be able to point to sources of information, as there's so much misinformation on the internet (just try to do a search on Benghazi + Hillary and you'll see what I mean) that I feel it's worth addressing this when I have the opportunity to.
posted by hampanda at 9:21 PM on November 16, 2016

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