Much greater minds and pundits than I have eloquently babbled caution about bringing up politics at family holiday scrums. You know it is coming every year, and likewise you know you will try to resist and deflect. As sure as turkey consumption leads to naps, someone will drop the first political quip and egos will be unleashed like the hungry hound dogs in “A Christmas Story,” and no Red Rider BB Gun will stop them.
Yelling “shut up you bellicose idiots!” probably won’t work. You need to cleverly redirect the conversation like your parents did every time you brought up the subject of sex, money, drugs or familial DNA testing. Here are a few scripts to get you started.
The second someone says “impeachment,” you say: Speaking of peaches, that reminds me of grandma’s peach pie. Do you remember how she would always go on and on about how she drove down to Brigham City and loving hand-picked all the best peaches? After she passed away, we looked for the recipe only to find a bunch of empty Swanson frozen peach pie boxes and two bottles of homemade peach schnapps. Granny sure was a rascal, wasn’t she?
When someone you love starts off with “all Democrats … ” you say: That reminds me, I just saw a demo of cats learning to walk on leashes just like dogs. The tutorial said you could teach any cat to do this in just three to five years of daily training with treats and sand boxes. Once trained, most cats will dutifully follow you to the end of the driveway or until they found an empty cardboard box; whichever came first. Pass the bread sticks.
If someone starts a sentence with “all Republicans … ” you say: In common parlance, a republic is a state that does not practice direct democracy but rather has a government indirectly controlled by the people. A democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy. Did you know that Wikipedia lists about 300 republics dating back to Roman times? Is the United States a republic? Who knows? Pass the potatoes.
If someone utters “Trump … ” you say the term “trump card” comes from an old card game called “triumph,” shortened to just trump in the 1500s. Who wants to play spades instead of watching the Dallas vs. Buffalo football game this year? Either that, or we could listen to legendary trumpet players Miles Davies and Dizzy Gillespie. Who wants pie?
When someone asks, “Who are you voting for?” you say: I vote for more pie and a nap followed by fermenting leftover turkey that has been sitting out on the counter for six hours now. Who brought the Imodium?
If someone brings up the debates, you say: I don’t know about the debates, but that does remind me of the Bates Hotel in the movie “Psycho.” Is anybody up for a walk in the dark after dinner? What happened to the knife we used to carve the turkey? I’m sure it is around here somewhere; nobody take a shower until I find it.
Also off limits are the semi-incendiary topics of calories, gluten, lactose, animal rights, Native American subjugation, Columbus getting lost and Jell-O’s correct place in the food pyramid.
Safe topics: How funny tofurky sounds, tastes and looks. Also, discussing how many garages and decks burned down from deep frying turkeys last year.
Dennis Hinkamp wishes you nothing but the most mellow gluttony this holiday season.