Are You Still Going to See Your Family This Year?


Everything just hurts too much right now.

by Stephanie Kaloi, Content Manager

woman standing alone in a street

We’ve been talking about the recent U.S. election a lot, and from many angles: people are scared about their marriages, about bigotry, about their health insurance. One aspect that we haven’t touched on yet is what it feels like when you’re the only member of your family who didn’t vote for You-Know-Who and how that is impacting family gatherings around the country. People across the United States are scrambling to cancel and rearrange their holiday plans after this month’s election. I’m sure there are those who think this is silly, laughable, ridiculous, even. I’m not one of those people, though, because I also cancelled plans with my family this year. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my case, the political is personal: I’m still not capable of sitting down at a table with immediate family members who actively and intentionally voted against my child (and others who, like him, have a disability).

As someone with complicated and complex family relationships, I am the first person who understands just how hard it can be to cut yourself off from the people you’re most closely related to. For some people, this seems impossible. For others, canceling holiday plans is indicative of a general shift in how Americans speak to one another. As the New York Times explains:

Conversations on those and other delicate issues can be both important and painful, but the reality of American life is that they are happening ever more rarely. Over the past several decades, the United States has become increasingly segregated by class, with college-educated people marrying, living, and socializing apart from less-educated Americans. The result has been that Americans have lost touch with one another, sociologists say, and helps explain why each side is so baffled by the other.

In my case, this reality is all the more painful because I’m not baffled by the family I won’t see on Thanksgiving. I knew all along who they were voting for. I knew that despite my many, many conversations with them on the topic, and despite the effort I have expended for years when trying to (sometimes) patiently and (other times) impatiently explain the differences in our views, and to explain what those differences mean in real life for real people… I knew that they would still vote the way they did. But that doesn’t mean it’s not breaking me on the inside, and it doesn’t mean that I can see them right now.

I love my family. It hurts, deeply, that this year we won’t sit around my mom’s chocolate pie and my husband’s green bean casserole, watching Rocky installments until we fall asleep or a Harry Potter marathon starts up on ABC. It hurts that the only interaction we’ve had was a text exchange of “I love you” and “I love you, too.” But I know what I believe, and I know what I’m capable of. Right now, both Thanksgiving scenarios (one in which we peacefully sit around a table and the more likely one where I bring up racism, ableism, and bigotry and end up crying and leaving early anyway) are so far from what I want or need in my life, and opting out is the best choice. And while that sucks… I relate to this:

“I don’t want to be part of the grand narrative that the ‘liberal elite’ doesn’t get the working class,” she said. “I am from the working class. I’m now pretty solidly middle class. But to my relatives, I’m elite, over-educated, and too well read, an alien.”

She added: “I used to feel like I was building community, but now I feel like I’m taking part in the dissolution of it. I feel like a stranger in a strange land.”

It sucks, but it’s life right now, and living any other way would be dishonest and painful. More importantly, it’s my choice—and it’s one that I’m at peace with.

What about you guys: are you changing your holiday plans this year? Why or why not?

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her husband, their seven year old metalhead son, and a crew of beasts. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and smiley faces.

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  • Rose

    This isn’t personally my situation (none of my family voted for Trump), but I saw this recently, offered as a resource for people who do want to/currently have the energy to have those conversations, but don’t necessarily know what to say. http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/thanksgiving. SURJ is a group working to organize white people for racial justice, and they have good talking points, etc. Some people might find this helpful.

    • ItsyBit

      THANK YOU for this! I envy you that you won’t have to have these conversations, but mostly I am so thankful to have a resource for when I do.

  • Eenie

    We have an almost family free holiday season this year that was planned before the results of the election came in. My FIL is visiting us for Thanksgiving, but based on the lack of biggoted remarks from him on his last visit (the weekend after the election) I have high hopes for a pleasant, election talk free visit. I will be missing my husband’s family Christmas for the second year in a row due to scheduling conflicts. My parents were going to visit us after Christmas, but due to unexpected events at work will no longer have the time. They promised a visit in January instead.

    Which leaves us with so much time off work and no one to visit/see! Anyone got some first time painting recommendations? I think my parents are going to gift us the money to buy paint and supplies to repaint our bedroom, bathroom, and closet.

    • Sarah E

      Young House Love has some of the most detailed instructions and reviews of tools that I’ve seen. Worth a trip through their archives, for sure.

      • CMT

        +1 to YHL. They paint all the time!

  • ruth

    I feel you. My parents are both Republicans. In past years we’ve just agreed to disagree, but this year feels different – because Trump is a threat on a completely different scale – and I just can’t stay silent anymore. My parents are not the stereotypical Trump voters. They’re upperclass, affluent, and non-religious. I don’t honestly think their vote for Trump was primarily motivated by racism, sexism, able ism, homophobia, or xenophobia. But what infuriates me is that they’re willing to throw all those people under the bus to get a lower tax break. I blew up at my dad recently when he texted me “I know you’re worried about the crazy orange dude is going to do, but relax because he just made you a lot of money” (meaning he made a lot of money on the recent stock market uptick which will one day be my inheritance.) I responded that I’m not worried for myself – I’m worried for everyone else, those who have so much more to risk than I do, those who could have their rights or very existence taken away by a Trump presidency. The cynicism of his position floored me. We’re still having Thanksgiving dinner, because they’re still my parents, and I’ll always love them. But I no longer respect them. And that breaks my heart.

    • Eve

      I know a lot of Trump supporters. I’d venture to guess that your parents don’t believe that a Trump presidency equates with isms or phobias. Have you directly asked your parents if they think that people will be treated unfairly?

      I know one person who said she would read what the media reported Trump said, then she would go watch his speeches in order to fact check. Often, he was taken out of context or interpreted in the worst way possible, according to her.

      Most people on the Left didn’t listen to his speeches directly. They read what the media said. Whereas Trump supporters heard it directly from Trump and mostly have a different take. Unless your parents said otherwise, you can’t assume they believe the worst is actually going to happen. You should ask them if what you think will happen is what they think will happen. Right now, your assumption is that they “know” people will suffer and just don’t give a damn, but that might not be what they believe.

      • savannnah

        “Most people on the Left didn’t listen to his speeches directly. They read what the media said. Whereas Trump supporters heard it directly from Trump and mostly have a different take.” – this is a big assumption.

        • toomanybooks

          Yup. I’m on the Left and watched Trump’s speeches and comments and debates. They don’t need a media spin to be terrifying.

        • Meg Keene

          You can trust that all the muslims, immigrants, POC’s, jews, LGTBQ folks, etc. did. TRUST.

      • ruth

        Thanks Eve. I have tried to bring this point up in discussion with my folks. One of the issues I raised was abortion rights, because I know my folks are pro-choice, and this is an issue they can empathize with I think more than immigrant rights or gay rights because it affects young women like me. I asked them if they were concerned as I am about the fact that at least one Supreme Court Justice will be appointed under the Trump presidency (and potentially more, given the age of some of the justices like Ginsburg and Breyer) and Trump has stated plainly (in his speeches) that he will appoint a pro life justice who will overturn Roe V Wade. My dad responded “well, we’ll see if that actually happens” etc…. and maybe he’s right, maybe the worst aspects of the Trump / Pence agenda won’t come to pass, but what hurts me is that he’s willing to gamble so many people’s lives on this. That’s what I don’t know how to address

        • Eve

          It probably won’t happen. First, a case would have to be brought before the Supreme Court. If it was overturned, it then becomes up to each state to decide. Some women would have to travel to another state to access services if their own state bans abortions. That is definitely a hardship on the individual, but there is no way abortion would get banned in most states.

          If I’m not mistaken, I think many legal experts have said that Roe v. Wade wasn’t the greatest decision if you wanted a case that would be unassailable. I’m too lazy to look up the argument that would have been preferred and would have been harder to overturn.

          • Eve

            Forgot to add, I read that even Trump said it would be a long road for it to happen. Because nothing can happen without a case coming before the Supreme Court that causes them to look at the issue again.

            Plus, I think they rarely go against precedent, which makes it even less likely to happen.

          • ruth

            I completely agree, in that I don’t think it would be banned nationally, just become illegal in certain states (the problem is that most of those states are next to each other, so it would mean women driving thousands of miles or flying, which makes it essentially not an option for anyone who doesn’t have those kind of means.) Roe is definitely not unassailable, which is part of the issue. And I do have concerns about a flagrantly ideological appointment who might be willing to go against precedent. I’m honestly more concerned about Republican climate change denial (my folks are climate change deniers) and a Trump presidency not only doing nothing to address this issue but also rolling back all the regulations that have created what little progress we’ve made. Honestly, what’s made me the most furious from my folks and from other rational, reasonable-seeming people in my life who I know are trump voters, is the willingness to go along with policies that will genuinely cause harm to others in order to get one thing they want.

          • Amy March

            I think you are taking a very rosy view of this issue.

          • AP

            Several conservative states are actively testing out legislation specifically designed to eventually reach the Supreme Court and call Roe v. Wade into question, including mine. Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt this summer was a perfect example of a challenge to precedent set by Planned Parenthood v Casey. Check out the documentary TRAPPED on Netflix, some of which was filmed in my state. It can absolutely happen.

          • Meg Keene

            You do seem to be taking a pretty lazy approach to a lot of these issues. It’s an approach that people scared for themselves and their children don’t have the luxury of taking. It’s worth sitting and thinking about why you can be lazy about it, and why other people cannot.

          • Lawyerette510

            You’re right in that wealthy women who have control of their own finances and autonomy to travel will likely still be able to receive abortions somewhere, but that’s why states limiting abortion is more than about just abortion, it is about racial and class equality, and economic mobility and breaking cycles of poverty and oppression. Too bad your argument expresses a lack of concern for all of the women who will be disenfranchised by further lack of access to abortion.

      • Spot

        The problem with asking “if they think people will be treated unfairly” is that a lot of people straight up don’t see forms of violence against Others as “unfair”, or even as something that exists. Like, if they didn’t acknowledge police brutality against people of color before they’re not going to suddenly acknowledge it now.

        That bit about “he was taken out of context or interpreted in the worst way possible” seems deliberately obtuse to me, given the decades this man has spent in the public eye showing us who he is. As for giving supporters the benefit of the doubt? Nope. If all the vile sewage that seeped and spouted from that camp wasn’t enough to make you think twice, you have to own the full moral weight of your choice. You don’t get a pass because you (genuinely or supposedly) didn’t want to look at it too closely before or now.

        I really like Jamelle Bouie’s take on the call for empathy and excuses for Trump voters: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/11/there_is_no_such_thing_as_a_good_trump_voter.html

      • Meg Keene

        I’ve listened to many many of his speeches in full, and then made plans to get my kids out of the country if I need to. They are FULL of Protocols of the Elder’s of Zion level anit-semitism, not to mention racism and every other -ism.

        I think it is a WILDLY incorrect assumption to think that those of us who feel very directly threatened by a Trump presidency didn’t listen to his words in full. Sure, maybe your average non-threatened liberal white voter didn’t. But those of us with fear for our children sure did.

        People who voted for Trump have chosen to believe that other people won’t suffer, when that’s flat out not wha the, or those around him, are saying.

      • rg223

        Can you give some examples of comments being distorted by the media? I’m genuinely curious.

      • BSM

        I wish I could’ve avoided them, but his speeches specifically were often streamed uninterrupted and without commentary over the course of the entire campaign, including during the primaries. Let me assure any of you who did not see them: you missed nothing. Context only solidified the message that he is a disgusting, spiteful, unintelligent excuse for a human being.

    • emilyg25

      :I’m not willing to trade the well-being of others for cash, thanks.”

      • ruth

        yeah that was pretty much my reply!

      • Sarah E

        I have a Trump-supporting uncle who I believe (heard it from my dad, so the grapevine might have distorted things) voted on the basis that environmental and safety regulations would hurt his business (read: lower profits). To the degree that he buys a new Corvette every two years, I think he can lose some profits and still be comfortable. But apparently that’s more important than other folks’ safety and the security of the planet. And all of this makes me one hundred percent distrustful of his overtures of generosity and hospitality that I used to believe were sincere. Kind of like ruth said: love, sure (I think), but trust and respect are gone.

        • Yep, it seems to be about total selfishness for these people. It’s grotesque. I don’t want the cash. I want to be able to look myself in the mirror every day and know that i didn’t live my life in spite of every one else.

    • MrsRalphWaldo

      I think there’s an important distinction here between your parents being life long Republicans and your parents being Trump supporters. I have no problem with my family having different political opinions than me. I do however, have a problem with Trump supporters being complicit to hate. I think you’re totally in the right here.

      • ruth

        That’s the issue I’m struggling with here. I could intellectually understand, even if I didn’t agree with, their support for Romney four years ago. But this feels different and I’m struggling to articulate that. Even if they’re voting for Trump primarily because he plans to uphold status-quo Republican positions of tax cuts, privitization of health care, deregulation of industry etc…(which I vehemently oppose because I think it will harm the planet, but even leaving that aside for a moment) the level of hate spewn in Trump’s campaign was unprecedented. Even if it didn’t originate with him, he was willing to play to it, stoke it, shamelessly utilize it to bolster his support – and while my folks may not share those views personally, to go along with someone who does seems like a vast sell out of the “values” that Republicans supposedly hold so dear. I feel like our conversations are going around in circles as I try to articulate why it’s different this time.

        • MrsRalphWaldo

          Unfortunately, I don’t think those supporters are really going to get it until real policies start rolling in.

    • lildutchgrrl

      “So, that’s what? Thirty pieces of silver?”

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        Boom.

    • Meg Keene

      Also, please. Trump’s not going to help the stock market long term, people shouldn’t kid themselves. Instability and the stock market are not BFFs.

    • For tax reduction Trump voters, the economy could actually be a jumping off point for conversation. Asking what their hopes for the economy are, what they think about economists who say Trump is bad for long term U.S. financial health, anything bigger picture could be a way of starting dialogue and getting out of the talking-point crossfire.

  • savannnah

    My mother and I were just talking about how thankful we feel to be a part of a family that does not have to deal with this issue so close to heart- we do have a few republicans in our ranks but all of them voted for Clinton. I am really looking forward to being with my family this year and know its a blessing (in the not ironic way) that I can hold onto that going into January. My sister’s in-laws voted for trump and she told her wife “I love your family, but I have no spoons for them this year. Trump has stolen all my spoons.” So they will be with us this year for thanksgiving.

  • Sarah E

    We didn’t shift any plans based on the elections, and the prospect of having political discussions on top of managing divorced family dynamics makes me want to crawl into a chair at my in-laws and never leave their cozy home of endless coffee and gin.

    I keep going back and forth in my head imagining scenarios where I speak strongly and fight, and those where I try to be understanding and kind in my approach. Do I even want to speak to some of these folks? Doesn’t not speaking to them only increase the divide? Etc.

    Thank goodness we’re traveling the week before Christmas, so we can spend the day itself cozy in our own home, surrounded by friends.

    • Rosie

      On speaking out vs not, if the topic comes up you could say ‘I’ll happily discuss this with you but I don’t think now is a good moment for that conversation.’ Then if they genuinely want to talk you can arrange to get coffee and speak properly with no distractions and enough time, and if they’re just looking for a reaction you can shut it down. Hope it goes well for you.

    • Kate

      I hate political discussions on holidays even if everyone is on the same side! I will never for the life of me understand why people like to ruin the holiday this way.

      • Amy March

        Because it’s interesting? Because it’s what is happening in our lives? Because it is important? Because I learned my values from my family through just these sorts of discussions?

        I totally respect people who prefer not to discuss politics and don’t if they ask, but talking politics doesn’t ruin a holiday for me.

        • Kate

          But there are 364 other days of the years to have these conversations. And this thread is about people who can’t even stand the thought of being with their own families because of these conversations. Comments seem to back up a lot of us dread it.

          Clearly, it’s a horrible experience for lots of people. Way to ruin a holiday, I say.

          • Amy March

            Are there? Idk I don’t actually sit down with my Thanksgiving group on any other day of the year. We are all on the same side and all enjoy the discussions. I just take issue with you announcing that my happy family is somehow ruining the holidays for each other by doing things we like.

          • Kate

            Amy, where did I talk about your family personally? In general, as evidenced by this entire thread, tons of people dread it.

          • Amy March

            You just seem very committed to declaring all of us who like talking politics are ruining holidays. Sure, for some people, but I don’t think it is a universally bad thing at all.

          • savannnah

            If you’re not white and middle/upper-class i’m not sure you get a whole day to ignore what’s going on in our country- not talking about politics is a luxury many people cannot afford in one way or another.

          • Kate

            Deciding to devote one day to enjoying life and not talking about it is a luxury?

            Come on. It only requires a decision.

          • savannnah

            It’s a luxury if people are afraid for their lives, their children’s future, thinking they might be deported or if swastikas showed up on their shul last week.

          • Loran

            I understand the desire to take a break from the fight and enjoy life and love and friends and family – but when a person believes that members of their family – people who are supposed to support them – believe that people like them, or like their spouse(s), or like their friends, or, hell, any human being are not entitled to equal human rights and respect and autonomy, I have a hard time taking a break from that. It’s not something that “only requires a decision” – it would require me to shut part of my brain down, the part that has constantly been screaming in fear since the election. It would be akin to ignoring a crying baby for me. I would have a really hard time hugging and making small talk with people I love – who I know love me – but knowing that they voted in a way that says they don’t really care about the rights of people who are different from themselves. As difficult as it would be (and it would be excruciating and potentially explosive), I believe I would owe it to those family members to try to explain how I’m feeling, to try to understand their perspective, to share my perspective, and I would especially owe it to myself and the screaming part of my brain to try.

          • Jenna

            It’s not because of these conversations. It’s horror, sadness and true pain – for me, actual physical pain in my gut – knowing what their beliefs say about their character. Loving them anyway, but deep down knowing that. It hurts. If I never speak to my grandfather again (which obviously I’m hoping does not happen, but he’s 87 so it’s not like there’s likely much time left) or ever have an unpleasant conversation with him again I will still know deep down that he voted for a guy who bragged about grabbing women’s genitals, and didn’t think that was a problem*. This time it’s just closer to the surface.

            It was never about the actual ballot mark, or the conversations.

            *Also the racist rhetoric, but honestly, my grandfather has always been an overt racist. And it has always hurt.

          • Kate

            For you. But there seem to be plenty of people here who are planning to ditch their families to avoid the conversation. I don’t know why my statement is so controversial when it’s the premise of Stephanie’s post.

          • Jenna

            Whoever said your post was controversial? I happen to disagree with you but that’s not an indictment.

          • Kate

            Read.

            I’m getting push back from Amy who thinks I’m personally insulting her family, and Savannah who is lecturing me about the “luxury” of taking one whole day to focus on enjoying life instead of politics. Damn! I’m apparently a horrible person.

          • Amy March

            Um what? I certainly never called you a horrible person. You said you couldn’t understand why people talk politics at holidays, I told you why we do, and explained how it doesn’t ruin anything for us.

      • MrsRalphWaldo

        I think unfortunately in this election cycle, real life becomes political very easily. Whether talking about new volunteer opportunities you’re taking, or your friend at work who’s worried about being deported, or a PoC/member of the LGBTQ community that is worried about harassment. Even if the conversation doesn’t start political, it’s almost unavoidable for it to turn that way right now.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          The political is personal.

      • Loran

        I don’t think it’s that people “like to ruin the holiday”, it’s more likely that a) people who talk politics enjoy talking politics and don’t feel the holiday ruined b) people who only get to see those family members at holidays, and love them, but disagree with their politics, and believe that the opportunity to have a discussion on values, beliefs, and politics is too important to pass up for the sake of a holiday c) people who would not be able to enjoy the holiday quietly (the holiday is already ruined for them) because they are in the presence of family members who are racist/sexist or who believe that racism/sexism/inflammatory rhetoric is not a deal-breaker when it comes to voting for the POTUS d) people who believe the holidays are a time for reflection and discussion on beliefs, values, and politics as well as self-improvement. Clearly, you’re not a fan of political discussions on holidays, and that’s ok. :) But for many people, while it’s difficult and may be a source of dread, it’s too important or too uncomfortable not to talk about if they’re present at the family event.

        • CII

          I grew up in a house where politics was not considered a topic of polite conversation. I’ve never known what party my parents were registered (if any), or who they voted for, only that they voted and that voting was important. In contrast, I married into a family where politics is discussed at every holiday gathering (even the ones where the family members are largely in agreement). I cannot overemphasize how confusing and alienating this was, and still is, for me. There were multiple dinners where I wished someone (other than my now husband) would see how uncomfortable I was and talk with me about anything else. To this day, when the political conversations start, it still feels as though everyone showed up to dinner in their birthday suit — a personal choice, and not objectively wrong, but unexpected and confusing all the same.

          It’s not that one way of holiday discussions is right or wrong, but they are very different. Your post certainly sets out a good explanation of reasons why politics might come up during holidays or why people might bring it up voluntarily. I certainly wish I had read it 10 years ago. I bring up my own perspective as a gentle reminder to anyone reading this extend some kindness to those in your extended family or family by marriage who shut down when this subject comes up.

          • RNLindsay

            Im with you. I sit there awkwardly at my inlaws holidays, poking at my food while they get into super heated arguments, always wishing someone would bail me out. It’s just not the way my family communicates. We never talked politics but we also never got as heated as my in laws do. I guess I could handle the politics talk if it didn’t always have to turn into a full on verbal fight.

          • Loran

            I totally feel you. One side of my family is very “no religion or politics” because it’s not “polite conversation” – the other side is very “let’s talk about things that matter to us even if it’s difficult”, but there’s a decorum to it generally, and it stops when things get heated. My SOs family is boisterous in everything they do – and loud even when sitting still ;) They love a good debate and it often gets all encompassing and heated, and if a person wasn’t ready for that or used to it, it can totally be overwhelming and not-fun. Personally, I steer away from the “no religion or politics” stance because, while it can be uncomfortable to discuss these things, I think it’s far too important to people’s lives to leave off the table of discussion. And frankly, challenging existing viewpoints is an important part of growth and personal evolution, and my love-language (if you will indulge me) is all about supporting one-another to be the best versions of themselves. Basically, if I don’t care about someone, I’m not going to waste my time trying to challenge them to support and define their positions on things, but if I love you, then by gum, I see it as a duty to help you be the best You you can be. It doesn’t mean we have to agree on all things, but it means you have to know where you stand and why and I’d like you to know where I stand and why, and that only happens with discussion.

      • Ashlah

        I like discussing politics if everyone is on the same side–I like commiserating with people I love and knowing that we’re hurting in the same way, and that we’re here to support each other. I think a lot of people like discussing with like-minded people. The problem is that nasty or uncomfortable debates often seem to start when someone states a political opinion that they assume is universally accepted, when it very much is not. So I don’t think people are trying to ruin anything, but they just don’t think about the fact that not everyone at the table is going to agree with them (and might, in fact, be hurt by what they say).

  • C

    Not changing plans. There’s one possible Trump voter but he’s outnumbered, knows not to start real arguments, and has other redeeming qualities. If my prejudiced aunt and uncle were going to be there… that’s a different story.

  • Kaitlyn

    I actually have already seen my family at a birthday party last weekend and it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I did start to have a reasonable conversation with my mom about the election the day before, but then it ended up with her telling me she’d send me cookies in hell for believing in abortion rights and me insinuating she’s racist sooo haha But we were able to move past it. And I was really surprised the next day at the party. It was my sister-in-law’s parents who brought up the election first (which just annoyed everyone cuz they don’t bother showing up to anything and when they do, they decide to make it tense?) but everyone just kind of ignored them. When one brother asked me my thoughts on the election, the other one shut him down with “no election talk tonight”. When we did eventually talk about it, I got the vibe that they never thought Trump would win, and they’re also hesitant to see what happens. They also understand that the people he’s picking for positions for power are bad ideas. I also understood that they voted for Trump for economic reasons. I don’t understand how they were able to ignore every awful, vile thing that he said but I do understand that this election caused people to dig in their heels and refuse to even consider the other side, which is what I think happened.

    I was straight up dreading seeing them, but I’m glad that I did. We generally try not talk about politics when we’re together cuz it’s them vs. me, so I think that this is something that’s just going to be swept under the rug as well.

  • lindsay

    I’ve really strongly considered not going to Thanksgiving on my dad’s side, because my dad voted for Trump and after the election, doubled down and stuck by his vote without acknowledging how hurt I was because of it. I feel like I need to try and give him a chance. I think we need to agree that we just won’t talk about politics, but it feels so much bigger than that this year, in the sense that the personal is political – i.e. “Did you hear that Beth and Jenny are planning on getting married? Yeah, they’re doing it before January in case they lose the ability to get married or lose legal custody of their adopted daughter.” My spouse has pointed out that a lot of the things my dad does are consistent with gaslighting and all of my life, I’ve felt my dad debates/argues to win, not to understand. If I don’t go, this is just the result of years of feeling disrespected by my dad.

    I also refuse to talk about Trump in front of or near my 4 year old nephew. He is very worried about Trump being in charge because he’s mean and doesn’t want him coming to his town. So maybe my nephew will be the thing that keeps us all on the edge of civility.

    • Kate

      I’m not so worried. Trump said in his speech at the RNC that he supported gay rights, and reiterated his stance on 60 Minutes that gay marriage has been settled.

      • Amy March

        And picked a VP who believes “gay” can be cured. Great that you aren’t worried but I think it is very valid for other people to be scared.

        • toomanybooks

          Especially if Trump gets impeached and Pence becomes President. Seems quite possible and is scary.

          • thebluecastle

            I wonder if that is what Pence has been counting on all along. Like maybe he knew he himself couldn’t get elected but if he just hitched his wagon Trump he might be able to be president after all. This is pure speculation. I honestly hadn’t thought much of Pence being President until I started seeing things about what would happen if Trump was impeached. Which unfortunately (?) seems like a real possibility. (I added the question mark because as much as I am afraid of Trump as a president the idea of Pence succeeding him after an impeachment is almost a little scarier).

          • Kate

            Pence would have to think that Trump was likely to be impeached. I don’t think it’s likely. Why do you think so?

          • Amy March

            Because he doesn’t seem to have any understanding of conflicts of interest laws, respect for the rule of law, or interest in learning. So I think there’s at least a reasonable likelihood that he will violate the law.

          • Mary Jo TC

            Because he can’t open his mouth without lying and he has several upcoming trials already. All they have to do is get him on the stand under oath and boom, perjury. In addition to conflicts of interest and huge potential for corruption. Lots of Republicans would have to vote to impeach, and I think they might because they’d find Pence easier to work with and more competent. I think a Pence presidency would be scarier in some ways (LGBT rights especially) and better in others (less vulgarity, less volatility in foreign policy).

          • Kate

            Already decided by Supreme Court though.

          • “Already decided” doesn’t mean that it can’t be revisted. Plessy v Ferguson ruled that segregation was legal while Brown v Board of Education ruled that segregation was unconstitutional decades later. Previous Supreme Court cases don’t make topics untouchable.

        • Kate

          Oh, I’m no fan of Pence. But it is still true that Trump has at least pledged to support gay marriage. Anyway, it’s already been decided by the Supreme Court and it’s incredibly difficult to overturn what’s been decided.

          • Cleo

            The Affordable Care Act has already been decided by the Supreme Court and one of the first things Trump said he would do when he assumed office was to get rid of it… The checks and balances in our government allow for no one body to reign supreme.

          • Amy March

            This is different legally though. The ACA law is constitutional, but there’s nothing unconstitutional about not having the law at all. Some access to abortion has, since Roe v. Wade, been held to be a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. So I think it’s possible to change abortion access, and likely they will try, and I’m disturbed by the prospect of a more conservative court changing their minds about it, but legally its in a very different position than just getting rid of the ACA in terms of things that are “already decided.”

          • Cleo

            It’s absolutely possible to change abortion access… Roe v. Wade is on seriously shaky legal ground (to the point where when I studied it in law school, I was SHOCKED at the mental gymnastics required to make the 14th Amendment apply. A stiff wind could overturn in IMHO).

            Anyway, my point was more rhetorical – Kate had said “Already decided by the Supreme Court” as if that settles everything. Gay marriage can be “settled,” but get enough conservative justices on the Court and pass the First Amendment Defense Act, and challenge that law in court – first off, SCOTUS might not even hear the case; second, upholding that law might take away the GLTBQ status as a protected class and then…

            Well, let’s just say the door is open to do some truly backwards stuff.

          • Amy March

            Yeah I think we actually agree then!

          • MC

            Yes, but marriage equality isn’t the only issue important to the LGBTQ community – if I’m not mistaken, the marriage equality Supreme Court decision doesn’t go as far to guarantee adoption rights for same-sex spouses (correct me if I’m wrong). There is still no federal protection for LGBTQ employees, so in many states they can be fired for their sexuality. Conversion therapy, which Pence supports, is also legal in many states. Trans rights are also likely to be under attack – Hillary as SOS made it very easy for trans folks to change their gender on their passports, meaning they can travel more safely in & out of the country. The ACA makes hormone treatment & many surgeries more affordable for trans folks if they choose to go that route.

            Also, it ultimately doesn’t matter what Trump says because he’s not on the Supreme Court; given who he’s chosen to nominate for other positions thus far, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll appoint a moderate. As Van Jones keeps saying, we can hope for the best, but we need to expect & prepare for the worst.

      • Rose

        Unless you’re married to someone of the same gender, I honestly don’t care if you’re worried; I am. Whatever he’s said in the last couple weeks, he’s openly opposed marriage equality in the last few months; if he’s going to flip that quickly, who knows where he’ll be in another month or two. I know that they can’t reverse the court’s ruling that quickly, but it’s not just about the Supreme Court ruling; he’s quite publicly said that he’d support a “First Amendement Defense Act” that would let public officials refuse to issue marriage licenses, etc. They could weaken adoption protections. And that’s not even getting into trans rights issues. I am scared about the legal protections for my family, and the safety of our future children. So fine, don’t be worried. But can you at least respect that there are a lot of reasons why a lot of us are?

        • MrsRalphWaldo

          “So fine, don’t be worried. But can you at least respect that there are a lot of reasons why a lot of us are?” This. So much of this.

  • toomanybooks

    My immediate family is a liberal DC family, the news is always on when I come over, my mom commiserated with me when I visited her and talked about how she couldn’t believe other people in her lifetime like Reagan had won either and that that also was not good. But this was going to be the Thanksgiving we spent with my fiancée’s family. The extended family her parents would be visiting this year would have been Trump supporters. And we didn’t really want to take time off of work to be around that. So when we were invited to Friendsgiving, we swiftly accepted.

    I’m so excited for my first true Friendsgiving because I’ve honestly always hated Thanksgiving. There’s always been some relative/neighbor/whatever who says something ignorant that I’ve had to sit through, with no defense from my parents (when I brought up that homophobic things were usually said at the dinner table and I had to suffer through it, my dad said “what am I supposed to do, say ‘you bigot, get out of my house?'”), thanksgiving food is bland and I don’t care for turkey, the dinner keeps starting earlier and earlier in the day so you have to suffer through like six hours for what is supposedly one meal, not to mention the origin of the holiday. As soon as my dad found out I was staying local, he started guilting me for not spending Thanksgiving with him, even though the plan was always to just spend Christmas with them this year. This is the first year I don’t have to deal with anybody’s mansplainy dad and I’m so happy about it.

  • Victoria Redding

    Stephanie, I live within driving distance and therefore did not have to cancel ahead any prepaid reservations. I haven’t had a meaningful conversation with any of my family, immediate or otherwise, since the outcome of November 8, and I have yet to work out whether or not it’s in my best emotional interest to make the physical and psychological journey to my in-laws home this Thanksgiving (my parents are headed to Honduras on a mission trip). I’ve been pretty much existing on a day-to-day basis. I feel like the country I once thought I knew never really existed and it hurt more than I thought it would – a soul in absolute turmoil. Anyway, my partner is more moderate than I am, despite it all, and is of the mind that we should not change any of our plans. Her main argument, which I can sort of see, is that her parents – both republican’ts – did not cancel plans in either 2008 or 2012. I want to mirror her strength and resolve, but I just can’t imagine feeling the way I do right now surrounded by people who supposedly love us but have no idea what it is to be us, live in a country that may never fully accept us, but expect us to go along with the majority. I need to feel safe. I just don’t.

    • stephanie

      “I want to mirror her strength and resolve, but I just can’t imagine feeling the way I do right now surrounded by people who supposedly love us but have no idea what it is to be us, live in a country that may never fully accept us, but expect us to go along with the majority. I need to feel safe. I just don’t.” This is what I feel, 100% . I had.. many many many conversations with my immediate family about this election, how very personal it was/is for us, and it just CRUSHES me in such an intense way to know they are part of the group of people who didn’t care. I can handle faceless strangers or even friends voting against my child, but my immediate family? It’s really scary, and it’s very bitter.

      • Victoria Redding

        I bared witness to SEVERAL meltdowns from my ultra-conservative friends when President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 – some of whom even blocked and or deleted me from our shared, social media platforms – but I feel like they aren’t allowed to play the victim card as they live in a system that gives them the advantage whether they want to see it or not. If Neo had been freed from the Matrix only to deny its existence, he’d be a republican. This election wasn’t about the home team prevailing over the away team, which it is for so many people in our distraction addicted society, it was more about the swan song of the delicate framework of a liberal democracy founded by our brave ancestors, fostered by those who risked being metaphorically burnt at the stake, and championed by a woman strong enough to look the most foul man on the planet in the eye and proudly proclaim – not on my watch! Anyway, your blog is so therapeutic and lends voice to those of us who are in absolute fear of having our hard fought and narrowly gained inalienable constitutional rights taken from us. Peace, love and spiritual healing, sister.

        • AP

          “If Neo had been freed from the Matrix only to deny its existence, he’d be a republican.”

          LOL

    • Lawyerette510

      Absolutely you need to feel safe, and your feeling safe should take precedence over being polite.

      Also, comparing republicans who showed up to family gatherings in 2008, 2012, or anytime in the interim with this election is just not the equivalent, because those elections were generally reasonable, with qualified presidential candidates on either side (albeit differing policies). Neither John McCain or Mitt Romney were endorsed and actively supported by the KKK; neither of them mocked disabled/ differently abled people publicly; neither of them had multiple lawsuits for fraud pending against them; neither of them created an atmosphere of violence at their rallies; neither of them talked about sexually assaulting women; neither of them talked about internment camps or registries for Muslims. Not to mention, that when the Democrats win the way something is usually “taken” from Republicans is the imagined taking that occurs when steps are taken to more even the playing field or give more rights to traditionally oppressed or disenfranchised people.

      I only go on that rant to say that I seriously doubt her parents felt unsafe or scared for actual oppression, discrimination, or to be victims of hate crimes at any point in the past 8 years.

      • Victoria Redding

        YES! May I invade your online safe space and give you a cyber hug!?

        • Lawyerette510

          Yes please!!!

          • Victoria Redding

            HUG!!!

          • Lawyerette510

            Yay!

  • Valerie Day

    My dad voted for Hillary… first vote for a democrat since Jimmy Carter. I don’t typically visit my side of the family for holidays but I almost feel like I should go see him just for this:) I have a lot of boundaries with family, but I also believe they’re the people we are most likely to influence. Coming out to my family was traumatic and for other reasons I keep my space. However 10 years later they are advocates or at least not lying about my relationship (depending on which person…) I think that the “safe vs comfortable” measure can be a helpful guide. There are still times when my family isn’t emotionally safe for me, but a lot of times it’s just uncomfortable and those times are okay. And being the bringer of discomfort might help create change. A system that is never stressed does not have to grow.

    • Jess

      This is exactly what I’m thinking right now. Right now, the people we are most likely to change are the people we know well.

      Maybe I feel like this because I’m so surrounded at work that I’m *used* to interacting with people cheering “Make America Great!” I know I feel like this because I have the absolute least to fear (as a middle-to-upper-middle class, white, non-out bi-woman in an opposite sex marriage with no immediate plans to be pregnant).

      There is something big to say about safe vs. comfortable. I would be merely uncomfortable, mostly because both our families are WASPy “don’t rock the boat” families. So, I’m not anticipating arguments in response to my comments, just awkward silence as everyone copes with someone having a different opinion.

      If it’s emotionally/physically safe (or, like in my case, no less emotionally safe than usual), I kind of feel like I owe it to The Cause to be present this holiday season and be ready to bring some discomfort when appropriate.

    • I’m with you– I do a lot of work in rural areas so I’ve interacted with a lot of the folks that voted that man into office. My goal is to not let my family sit comfortably with this result. I want to ask questions, dig deeper, go to some uncomfortable places.

  • sofar

    Most of my extended family (and probably my parents, although they may have voted for a write-in candidate) voted for Trump, and it never occurred to me NOT to go home for the holidays as always.

    As a white woman married to man, I feel I’m in such a position of privilege compared to many folks, that I need to be on the front-lines. And that means taking on my family, if I have to. If I stayed home, it would be easier for THEM, too. But I don’t plan to make it easy for them if they say ANYTHING ugly.

    Besides, my family really does love me. They respect me. They define my career as successful. They don’t think I’m one of those smelly, lazy hippies they associate with “The Left.” They like my husband (a non-white son of immigrants). So I kinda feel like they kind of need some (polite but firm) push-back from me. I can’t allow them to sit there comfy thinking of my side as “The Other” without any push-back.

    …obviously, if they don’t bring up politics, I won’t either. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • Mary Jo TC

    I’m not changing my plans. We’re visiting my family, which is probably about a 60/40 split favoring Trump. Since the election I’ve been eyeing facebook posts and likes to see who’s on which side. I’ve been having good conversations with my sister (who I usually have a tense relationship with) and with one of my sister-in-laws. They, their husbands, my two youngest siblings, and two of my cousins, are Team Pantsuit. My one brother, his wife, another cousin, and most of my parents’ generation, is Team Cheeto. My plan is not to bring it up, but if someone else goes there, I will speak my mind. That way it’s not my fault if it goes sour and spoils the mood. I will also spend more of my time talking to the Clinton supporters. I always liked them better anyways. I think toddlers and babies will be a nice distraction.
    I’ve been surprised to hear that a couple older (married-in) relatives who are immigrants supported Trump. That makes no sense to me.
    I’ve been having a fairly productive email exchange with my sister-in-law the Trump supporter, which has been alternately illuminating and mind-boggling. She says she voted that way because she liked his policies (mostly economic I think) and didn’t like Clinton at all. She said it didn’t matter what he said because it was just words, and my head almost exploded. She asked me which of his policies are racist, because she wanted to ground the debate in concrete proposals rather than idiot things he has said (which I guess I can get behind), and because she apparently hasn’t been paying attention. She’s hurt at people calling all Trump voters racist, and hasn’t yet responded or fully grasped to my explanation that a Trump vote shows that racism is not a dealbreaker for you. I imagine any debates that might happen at family gatherings might go this way, and I’m glad to have had the practice of writing these lengthy emails to prepare my arguments.

  • Laura

    I mentioned my strategy once before in a happy hour, but I’ll repeat it here in case it helps anyone who is still intending to attend a holiday celebration fraught with tension. Last year, we were in the midst of the refugee crisis and Caitlyn Jenner and I just could. not. deal. with my in-laws over Thanksgiving. So my husband and I mentally tallied all of the racist, bigoted, homophobic, and otherwise hateful things that were said over the Thanksgiving weekend (yes, a four-day weekend in a tiny cottage in Canada with my in-laws plus a group of their Canadian friends who we had never met before…it was a treat). For each comment, we made a certain $$ donation to a charity for Syrian refugees.

    This year, it’s Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU, and/or the Southern Poverty Law Center. Bonus points if you make a donation in the name of a specific family member to have the notification sent to their home address. If that’s too inflammatory, I’m sure Mike Pence is still loving all of the Planned Parenthood donation notifications rolling in to his office.

    • Jess

      I really really like this strategy of “I can’t change you, but I can offset some of what you say”

      • Laura

        I don’t always make my charitable donations out of spite, but when I do….I can attest that it’s deliciously satisfying :)

    • ruth

      This is an awesome idea!

    • Lawyerette510

      While we thankfully aren’t going to need to navigate this for Thanksgiving or Christmas, my dad recently invited us to meet up with him and other family members, whom I’d really love to see, in March. I hesitated because pretty much my entire life he has enjoyed trolling me and getting me worked up about things, but they are more concrete now instead of hypothetical, and so it will be harder for me not to feed his trolling behavior. But I think I probably could if I knew that for everything he said I was going to make a donation in his name to the ACLU, SPLC or Every town for Gun Safety.

      • Laura

        Do it! Grab a notebook and take conspicuous notes whenever he starts trolling. “Okay, that’s one more for the ACLU…” If social norms won’t encourage people to be pleasant and non-confrontational, may as well use any tools at your disposal.

    • Sara

      I adore this idea! How brilliant.

  • We’ll be going. My family is mixed in regard to political beliefs, but everyone knows that and we therefore generally avoid the topics out of respect for family peace. To make sure we’re all distracted and celebrating the things we do have in common, I’m ordering a couple of board games (my coworkers suggested Ticket to Ride and Telesrations). Maybe its an easy way out to not address election issues, but I do love my family, and sometimes it seems best to just enjoy the holiday and try to “educate” people on other occasions.

  • I am still going to Thanksgiving this year, and post-Thanksgiving I’ll be going up to my parents tiny rural mountain town where I’m quite confident of who just about everyone voted for. I don’t think it’ll be easy, but my reckoning post-election is that this is exactly what I need to do. I know they think I’m the crazy liberal kid brain-washed by higher education, but I also think that we still have enough of a common language that maybe I can begin to move the needle. I’ve been able to nudge things before– like explaining how the ACA saved my partner and I from a lifetime of medical debt. And I’ve already grabbed my family allies (partner, sister, a few close cousins). For me, this common ground comes through our shared faith, and I’m stocking up on material from SURJ and SPLC and the conversations about race we’ve been having my faith community here at home. We’ll see how it goes.

    • Lawyerette510

      Power to you Kara T!

  • Jenna

    I wasn’t going to go home anyway (we live abroad and only go home for holidays every few years, otherwise visiting at other times). But I am not going to call my grandfather on Thanksgiving.

    I love him. And he’s 87. But I cannot have a peaceful conversation with him right now. I am going to try to be okay by Christmas. I won’t be in the US again until 2018 and it will, in fact, probably still be hard to see him (but I will, because he’s 87).

  • MrsRalphWaldo

    My youngest brother is the biggest Trump supporter in my family. He’s the type that was constantly posting controversial memes/articles all through the election season and quickly posted articles about the “whiny liberals” protesting the election. I think that I at least got through to him that making fun of the people that are hurting isn’t going to help bring the country together, but it’s really hard to accept that while the only thing that decided his vote for him was Benghazi, he was okay with everything else that Trump supported too. My mom isn’t even registered to vote, and my other sibling voted for Trump without ever even following the election.

    This Thanksgiving will be the first that I don’t spend with my whole family, not by choice, but because my youngest brother just joined the Marines and is currently in Basic. While I love him, miss him, and hope he’s doing okay, I’m almost relieved that I don’t have to be on edge the entire day hoping that he doesn’t bring up politics.

  • Katharine Parker

    I’m going to my boyfriend’s family for Thanksgiving, and I’m glad to have our wedding as an alternate topic of discussion. I’m happy to debate endlessly with my own family (with whom I agree on 95% of things), but I don’t want to get into the deep depression I feel over a Trump presidency with people who I’m pretty sure voted for him (I haven’t asked, and I’m not going to). I understand why they have different voting priorities than I do, and normally I can respect that they believe in a different purpose of government than I do. But this year, I can’t respect voting for Trump. Still, I love my boyfriend, and they’re his parents. I’m planning on spending the four days we’re with them avoiding the subject and leaving the room if necessary.

    Solidarity to everyone who grew up in a family with political differences–this is my first time navigating this, and it’s tough.

  • Kat

    The day after the election I accidentally ended up sobbing on the phone to both of my parents (Trump voters) at different points in the day. I told them I was scared, and not for myself but for all the people I love who’s way of life is now being targeted as dangerous or distasteful. They tried to reassure me that “our country has had less-than-perfect presidents before and survived” and I didn’t have the presence of mind in the moment to point out that, no, a lot of people did NOT survive Andrew Jackson, Ronald Reagan, and yes, Bush.
    But I am glad that they know where I stand going into Thanksgiving. This election had changed me a lot and I’m much more inclined to fight back now than before. And I may have skipped this holiday were it not for my little sister, who lives at home with my parents, campaigned for Hilary behind their backs, and called me crying the whole week after the election because kids at her school were telling her she was going to burn in hell for her vote. She’s my hero and I want to be there for her.
    Honestly, the worst things I’ve personally dealt with following all this aren’t coming from my parents, but from extended family and friends of my parents who practically raised me. They’ve made it abundantly clear that they think that my college degree makes me an elitist, that my love of books and concern for others makes me weak, and that I should “stay in my safe space, liberal brainwashed bubble” and let them have their victory because they’ve “dealt with 8 years of Obama” and now it’s their America. How do you continue to show these people love and grace? I’m heartbroken over it.

    • Lawyerette510

      It may be that you don’t show these people love and grace. From the behaviors you describe, they are not acting with love, grace, or even basic decency. I applaud you being there for your sister who sounds like a bad-ass woman fighting a really hard fight, but just because these people are your blood, you do not have to perpetually turn the other cheek and treat them as you would want to be treated, if you already know they are going to be hurtful and maybe even hateful to you. You can’t take care of your sister if you don’t take care of yourself, and the two of you don’t emotionally owe anything to people who are mean to you because you earned a college degree, love books, and are concerned for other people.

      I don’t have much in the way on concrete advice, but I will be sending thoughts to you on Thanksgiving, and I hope you know that just because people are the people who raised you or are closely connected to those who raised it, it doesn’t give them license to be assholes.

      • Kat

        Thanks for the thoughts. To be fair, my parents aren’t being as bad as anticipated. I wholeheartedly disagree with their vote, but their reasoning seems to have come from a truly misinformed place, which I guess I have FOX News and fake-FB “news” to thank for. And I’ve had some good conversations with my dad re: being more understanding of what people are afraid of and maybe thinking twice before posting something online just because he thinks it’s funny in the moment. I wish there was a better way to say to my mom “Your sources are flawed and therefore so is your reasoning” without being shouted down for being disrespectful. Maybe that will come with time.

        In regards to other people’s newly revealed opinions of me…I guess my challenge is learning to accept that these people aren’t who I thought they were and need to be removed from my life if necessary. It just sucks to come to that realization. Growing up is rough. Lol

        • Lawyerette510

          This kind of growing up is super rough. I’ve been through something similar, and I’ve found that it was a loss and something I had to mourn so that I could move forward from it.

          Good luck.

    • Her Lindsayship

      PROPS to your sister!!! And to you, because you’re still going back there for Thanksgiving to support her and to face your folks. I think it’s a great idea to read up on scripts that are being posted online, really feel secure in your beliefs before going. It may not be possible to change their minds, and it may not be your *job* to do so, but speaking for myself, I’d rather go into that house with a little research to back myself up. Like others have said, at least you can make them uncomfortable. Hope it goes ok.

    • I still can’t figure out what they’ve had to “deal with” with Obama for 8 years. The coal industry seems to be the only thing harmed by his administration. So if they are coal miners, sure, but otherwise… ???

      • Amy March

        They’ve had to “deal with” the Affordable Care Act, gay marriage, acknowledging the existence of transgender people- they’ve had stuff to “deal with” even if I think they shouldn’t think that way.

        • Danielle

          Also, they had to deal with a black man running “their” country.

          The white ego can be a very fragile thing.

        • Tulsaloosa214

          I mean, even though I personally benefited from the Affordable Care Act, my bleeding heart liberal mother (who loves Obama), had her premiums skyrocket, so I can say its probably safe to say that well-meaning people may have taken issue with legislation that impacted them personally in a negative way. that doesn’ mean I dont think, or my mother doesnt think that Obamacare was a much needed step in the right direction, but its not perfect and some people have valid complaints.

      • Kat

        For real, every time someone says this I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall. And all I hear is “I am a racist but don’t want to admit it.” Whether that’s true or not….that’s the message I’m receiving

        • That’s what I hear too.

    • If people are directly insulting you (brainwashed bubble) putting up boundaries & refusing to tolerate that behavior can be form of uh, instructional love — If I’ve learned one thing I’ve really come to believe working in customer service, it’s that people who learn how to treat others decently lead smoother lives ;)

  • NotMotherTheresa

    My holiday plans have changed this year, not because of politics, but because of a combination of family member health issues/travel logistics/wanting to actually spend a holiday with my husband for once.

    That said, thanks to politics, I’m not exactly upset that my holiday plans will be different this year. I actually come from a very liberal family, but right now, that’s the problem–I just really want to be able to eat my turkey in peace without listening to my mom go on another six hour diatribe about how much she hates Donald Trump and all of his supporters. She literally cannot talk about anything else, and at this point, I’m over it. A few weeks ago when I was at home, my sister was going through a bad break up, and every time she’d try to talk about it, Mom would interrupt and start discussing the evils of Donald Trump again. At this point, dinner with the husband’s family of lukewarm Trump supporters sounds WAY better than hours of listening to my mom rant about how Trump is Satan’s illegitimate child and Pence is already building concentration camps for the gays.

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

    We’re hosting Thanksgiving for PADude’s family this year. His brother was always an interesting guy to talk politics with because he’s a smart guy who reads a lot and usually had a different perspective on things. Lately he’s gone off the deep end, reading more and more obscure “news” sources. He comments on anything and everything his Facebook friends post or comment on with some sort of rant, and they’re becoming more and more conservative and conspiracy theory-ish. He supported the Turnip because Hillary is corrupt and would destroy Syria, he doesn’t care that more conservative SCOTUS appointments would mean that some abortion clinics would likely close, and for whatever reason has taken on defense of the 2nd amendment as a pet project. (He also didn’t vote, because he allowed is driver’s license to lapse since he moved, and didn’t think his new polling station would allow him to vote without valid ID.) He’s a working class dude, his son has autism, his wife has mental health issues and has been in and off disability, and they received food stamps and have a prepaid phone through the food stamp program.We also invited over a friend who won’t be spending the holiday with his own family, and also likes to talk politics, and told us last night that he wants to ask my future BIL why he advocated for a guy who will probably try to cut all the assistance programs they have needed over the years. My plan is to send them to the basement or outside when the inevitable political conversation happens, and do my best to stay out of it. Not today, bubs. Not in my house, on this day. I just don’t have the energy.

  • Constance

    All my prayers and good thoughts are with you from across the pond. I have a hard time drinking a glühwein with people who will shrug their shoulders at the results of the American elections or wonder what I get so heated about from the heart of Europe. I can only imagine what the prospect of a festive family meal with Trump supporters can be like.

    I just listened to a reportage about the alt-right on BBC world: I didn’t think I’d ever actually hear the words “We want to expand white supremacy.” We need to work to stop this madness wherever we are, for everyone.

    • Her Lindsayship

      I’ve been dreaming of escaping to Germany before the holidays to enjoy the Christmas markets and glühwein away from all this madness… but your comment is a reminder that white supremacy is very much a European problem too. Sigh. I will enjoy an imaginary glühwein with you in solidarity.

      • Constance

        Cheers! :)

      • Danielle

        I mean, I’m pretty sure they’re the originators of it.

  • MsDitz

    A little off topic, but I figured you guys were the best people to ask for advice. I’m trying to put together our Christmas cards today and I am struggling with how to word our little greeting. I have always gone with happy-go-lucky, smiling “Laughing All The Way!”, “So Much Joy!” types of cards, but am obviously struggling with to find those emotions this year. I really want to say, “We are currently going through all the stages of grief, but putting on a happy face for our toddler! Hope we all make it through 2017!” This card will be going out to friends and family all across the political spectrum so I want to subtle, yet honest. Any ideas?

    • stephanie

      OMG I’m actually already working on a post about this! We’ve got you. ;)

      • MsDitz

        This is why I love APW. Thank you!

      • aly windsor

        Yes i just dealt with this last night. I scrolled past all the “Merry merry” and “Joy!” cards until I found a card that says “Shine bright”. As in, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. I won’t let anyone blow it out, I’m gonna let it shine.” :)

        • BSM

          Pure gay shine – I love it :)

      • Catherine McK

        Yes! I may have emailed you all requesting this after a beverage or 2…

    • A.

      I’m personally sending out more muted/melancholy cards that convey a wish for peace. It’s a similar tactic to what my family and I did when [on a more personal note] my teenaged cousin died suddenly a couple of years ago and no one was ready for ‘Merry and Bright!!!’ kind of sentiments.

    • Amy March
    • Jessica

      I just made the decision to not send out cards this year. Husband is in the throes of deep depression and our marriage is in flux at the moment. I can’t think about a happy card where I must insist people use both our last names (again), but never do.

    • Eenie

      Echoing the simple “Peace” greeting as a good way to go.

    • lamarsh

      There were many Christmases during the Bush administration that my mom sent out “Peace on Earth” cards. Never thought about it as a child, but now I realize that was a very deliberate decision.

    • Danielle

      It would be awesome if there were #realtalk holiday cards, a la Emily McDowell greeting cards, that were like, “This Sucks!” I would probably order those.

    • emilyg25

      Before the election, I found Krampus cards, which absolutely delight me. But now I’m thinking life is too bleak for that. So prolly Peace.

  • Meg

    I’m spending thanksgiving with my Canadian inlaws, and while I don’t think my parents voted for trump there has been enough anti-protester sentiment that I’m relieved. I still am a little sad I won’t be there though. I’m sure I’ll be there for christmas, but will hopefully be avoiding the one uncle who has been extremely rude and pro-trump on social media.

  • JC

    We’re not changing Thanksgiving plans, as we’ll be with his family who are all moderate to liberal and quite disappointed in the election results. When we do talk politics, it’s a lot more theoretical and academic, as pretty much everyone are lawyers. I find it’s less emotional than with my family. (Although none of his family, apart from my boyfriend, would consider themselves feminists, so when we get into gender issues, I get a bit heated.)
    We’ll be with my family over Christmas, and that’s another kettle of fish. We won’t cancel, but I’m not quite sure what we’ll do. I’m the only one, in several generations, who has moved away, so things always get a little tense no matter the topic. I’m not opposed to having hard conversations with my family, but I’m opposed to being told that I’m a worthless human being, which has happened more than once, so I might just stick to playing with the babies.

  • AGCourtney

    I’m lucky on this point. We’re going to my in-laws, who live ten minutes away from us. My MIL has been saying for years that she wants Hillary to be president. Another aunt’s family that is joining us was also vocally anti-Trump, and while I don’t know about the other aunt and cousin, they’re so outnumbered that it wouldn’t matter. Phew.

    On a related note, though, I had something remarkably close to a civil discussion on politics with my dad on the half-hour ride to church last Sunday. So that’s a win.

  • A.

    Does anyone have advice for how to talk to a young Trump supporter? My husband’s 16yo cousin is joining us this year and she’s apparently been parroting a LOT of what her father says, which can be some pretty vile stuff. Obviously, she’s old enough now that it’s not quite like a young child saying these things, so it’s even more disturbing that, according to my SIL, she would declare (for instance) that all of Trump’s accusers are lying you-know-what’s who want to ruin a good man’s reputation.

    However, she *loves* my husband and me (we’ve always been the the cool, younger, urban dwelling adults) so we’re thinking that we could be a positive influence on her here, though we’re not sure how we can do that or if we even should, since her father might not take too well to it. Also, I don’t want her to feel shut down, especially if I happen to vehemently disagree with her.

    She’ll definitely bring up politics over the next few days (and so will the rest of my very left-leaning family–she’s actually joining for my family of origin’s Thanksgiving, and we’re from pinko commie stock). Any thoughts?

    What makes it worse is that she’s biracial–her dad is my husband’s white non-bio uncle with extremely toxic views (one time he “joked” to me that the young black kids in the neighborhood needed to stop playing by his lawn or they’d bring down his property values; we don’t get along). Her mom voted for Hillary and is now terrified as a very recent US citizen, but they don’t have a very discussion-based relationship. :-/

    • A.

      ETA: I should note that I don’t want her to feel shut down because I think that’s counterproductive and would make someone so young clamp up and dig in. But on the other hand, I believe certain things DO need to be shut down and if she came anywhere near to saying something like that, my husband absolutely would and already has ( not me since we’re not actually related and that goes into trickier territory)

    • Amy March

      She’ll probably be pretty well on the defensive train anyway- a) teenager, b) nearly everyone disagrees with her. If you can focus on showing by example how to calmly listen and engage with someone you disagree with instead of actually changing her mind you might have more of an impact? “Huh, why do you think that? I’m interested because I’ve always though xyz instead because of these reasons.”

    • LadyMe

      I just posted this somewhere else in this thread. I think it has good advice for how to defend your side without shutting the other person down. http://www.getbullish.com/2016/06/bullish-qa-how-can-i-defend-feminist-ideas-if-im-terrible-at-arguing/

    • Jess

      I find phrases and questions like, “What makes you feel that way?” or “That statement seems to conflict with X value of mine. Do you hold similar values?” or “I wonder what the affect of that kind of policy could have” to be good for younger people, provided you can say them in an even, curious way.

      It’s super common for kids to follow a parent’s politics, especially before going out into the world on their own. I know (with a whole lot of regret) that was true of me, and people asking those sorts of questions got me to think through why I thought certain things and to examine them in relationship to my own values and friendships rather than because I heard catchy soundbites from my parents.

      Like you say below, though, this works better for things that aren’t deeply offensive and harmful.

      • Along similar lines, talking about how you come to form opinions… Describe how you’ve come to some of yours, ask about her process for coming to hers (without immediately shutting them down)

    • Lawyerette510

      Lots of people are commenting with good overall strategies, so I will just chime in with this tip specifically to the accusers being liars aspect of it: have your primary sources ready to site. And by primary sources I mean the tweets, you tube clips of him speaking at rallies or on news shows, clips of his advisors and likely appointees speaking publicly, transcripts from those things, you get the idea. Ok, so maybe the women who have said Trump physically assaulted them were lying, but no one from Trump’s camp has denied that it is him on the Access Hollywood recordings.

      • Jess

        I think this point is really interesting, because I don’t hear a lot of denying he said many of the things he’s said, but I know a lot of people denying that it matters or denying that it’s racist/misogynist/whatever.

        Like, the guys at work have been saying, “oh, better watch what you say in a joke – you may end up running for president and they’ll hold it against you” and “he’s just getting people in his rallies amped up” and “He’s not afraid of the PC Police.”

        This is purely anecdotal, of course, but I’m not sure just saying, “He really did say this” is going to help people understand that those things aren’t ok to say.

        (ETA: and I absolutely believe that those things are not ok to say, do, think, or believe)

        • Anon

          And unfortunately, to many Trump supporters, using facts to support an argument is seen as part of the liberal intellectual elitism they’re railing against.

          Anecdotal case in point, my uncle earlier this summer snarled at my father during a heated political argument, “You think you’re so great with all your FACTS. But *I’ve* got my ideology and you can never take that away from me!”

          :(

          • LadyMe

            It’s Colbertian truthiness. It’s not about if it’s true or not, it’s about if it *feels* true. Also Gingrich’s post RNC comments that feelings are more important than facts. It’s probably easier to try to get people to sympathize with the story of a singular member of [minority, threatened group here] and feel the fear/pain of that person, than to get them to acknowledge a bunch of impersonal statistics that disagree with their worldview.

          • MrsRalphWaldo

            When did being educated become a bad thing?

          • lamarsh

            It feels like that undercurrent has been around for most of my life. The first election I really remember was 2000 and I remember having the same thought when everyone accused Gore of being too wonky/elitist and said that Bush was more like someone you could have a beer with. Even at 14, I could not process how that was an appropriate qualification for the leader of our country.

          • Lawyerette510

            You may find this article interesting as to answers/ insight

            “There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.”
            https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201407/anti-intellectualism-and-the-dumbing-down-america

        • Lawyerette510

          Oh I absolutely agree, facts don’t work when someone is accepting of the facts but doesn’t have a problem with them. I was more thinking in terms of how to initiate with a young, hopefully somewhat still malleable mind who is writing off critics and accusers.

  • Kelly

    Luckily my family all voted for Hillary, and for my parents this was their first time in years (maybe ever?) voting Democrat. Actually my mom may have voted for Obama so perhaps not! I voted for McCain and Romney as a young(er) person but even before the primaries found myself gravitating more left. So Idefinitely don’t look down on Republicans as I used to identify as one.

    That being said, Trump and the rise of white nationalism is beyond the pale and beyond what I had hoped most Republicans would buy into.

    Unfortunately for me, we’re not spending thanksgiving with my family but the in laws. Husbands mothers husband is a big Trump supporter.

    So, here’s to using copious glassss of wine to deal? :/

  • emilyofnewmoon

    Luckily my parents are diehard Dems and hate Trump, and my future in laws are Republicans who don’t like him and didn’t vote for him (they didn’t vote for Hillary either, but I’m just taking what I can get.) We are spending Thanksgiving with friends, but Christmas with his family. All their children and their partners are Democrats and very upset, so I think they might avoid the subject. I HOPE.

  • Danielle

    One of the first things I asked Husband after the election was, “Your family didn’t vote for Trump, right?” We will be going there for Thanksgiving and I really didn’t want to deal with hatred. His family are white, working class people living in the sort of rural area that has seen a lot of job loss over the past 20-25 years, and I could possibly see them voting for him in the hopes of new jobs, etc.

    Husband said his family doesn’t normally talk about politics, although we know his mom is quite liberal/progressive. We’ll see. Thankfully we’re just planning to drive there for a day, so I won’t be stuck.

    Side note: we’re planning to tell his family I’m pregnant during our visit. Will be interesting to see the response.

  • ItsyBit

    I’m still going home to see family (and also go to my HS reunion in Trumpville, god help me), but I’m dreading it this year in a way I never have before. I’m trying to gather my strength for the forthcoming awful conversations and have to try and find a way to say what must be said without burning bridges; if they don’t hear it from me, they may never hear it. And I owe it to the world to use my privilege and “insider” status to at least try and bring some folks around. Sending everyone here love and strength this fraught holiday season, whatever it looks like for you.

    • Lawyerette510

      Good luck! Also, check out the resources for Standing Up For Racial Justice for talking points, etc (as well as all the good content in this thread).

      • ItsyBit

        Thanks! And will do. I’ve bookmarked them for now, here’s hoping I can do some good.

        • Lawyerette510

          Even if no one’s mind is changed, speaking up in the face of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, trans-phobia, abelism or demagoguery is doing good just be doing it.

          • ItsyBit

            I really needed that reminder. Thank you.

  • Jessica

    Fistbump in solidarity, Stephanie. My husband & I made the same choice. While my family is about evenly split the Trump side is more vocal.

    And I can’t bring my sweet Muslim husband round to see that. Or sit there trying to eat pie, and trying to explain to them why I’m now scared to have children given the anti-Muslim rhetoric. Not to mention my sister with a disability.

  • Did anyone else see this great video from the Lady Parts Justice League? Although I haven’t really considered opting out of any family gatherings this holiday season (I think/hope most of my relatives are on the same page as me in terms of the election…), it really spoke to me. I spent about a week after the election seriously wallowing, then got on the phone and started making calls. I’m also continuing to sign petitions online and am compiling my list of organizations to donate to. I really don’t feel like it’s enough, but at least it’s a start.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV4JCTWOt1s&feature=youtu.be

    • Disclaimer: I’m not posting this to shame/argue with anyone who’s choosing to forgo their holiday gatherings this year. I totally respect anyone making that choice.

  • Jasmine

    Thanks for this post. I never celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, but will be visiting them for a week around Christmas. My immigrant, Jewish husband has told me he is already having nightmares about the things that will happen (and we don’t have an escape — we will be three hours from an airport without a car of our own relying on transportation from my Republican parents). I had a nightmare about the trip last night. We can’t really afford to lose the plane ticket money that we spent before the election, so we’re just going to go through with this trip. I’m hoping that in a month everything will seem less scary and I’ll be less paralyzed and more willing to take on any racism, homophobia, etc that we encounter. I also know that my parents are not racists or anti-Semites, but am not sure what other people we will encounter and what they will say. My questions are: should I warn my parents about how scared we are ahead of time (previously we have not brought up politics at all because well, my parents are Republicans but not crazy, so I still have some hope that they just sat out this election)? I have a hard time with visits to my family in the best of times (and the holidays are never the best of times), so I’m just so worried about the after effects of this election.

    On a separate note, can you guys do a gift guide for your Conservative relatives? I’m thinking progressive novels for Mom and a liberal newspaper subscription for Dad, but would welcome specific suggestions. I want to support the expansion of their close-minded world but also feel like it needs to be a real gift (as in something they won’t completely hate and immediately throw in the trash).

    • BSM

      Can you rent a car so that you have an escape valve you can pull if necessary? You can often find them for relatively cheap if you search discount sites (carrentals.com, etc.).

      I say this for two reasons:
      1. It might make you feel less anxious just knowing that it’s there, even if you don’t ever need to use it.
      2. My husband (then-fiance) and I had a TERRIBLE holiday with my family 2 years ago (not politically related), and we’d been staying with my mom and counting on her for transportation. With the power dynamics of her owning our housing and transportation, it really turned into a nightmare and somewhat permanently damaged our relationship. We’re OK now, but when we visit these days we always stay somewhere else and always either rent a car or plan on using Lyft.

      • Jasmine

        BSM, the car rental is a good idea. I was considering it when we first considered the trip, just so we wouldn’t be as much of an imposition on my family. We do need to rent it for the full week (because my parents’ house is not near car rentals or airports or anything except farms and Trump supporters), so it is a pretty big expense when it’s just an in-case of emergency item. But emergencies do happen and peace of mind is important.

  • My immediate family is liberal and disappointed and anxious and, even on subjects we disagree about, are kind and loving.

    My new husband’s family, on the other hand? Mean and conservative and gloating. All this on top of the fact that my husband’s father and stepmom didn’t come to our wedding six months ago, notifying us two weeks beforehand that “we don’t make enough of an effort to visit” them. Husband and father have always had a rough, nearly nonexistent relationship. We’ve called to invite to dinner, but he goes to bed early (like, 6:30) and isn’t easy to plan around.

    We already have exit plans in place. We will go and be civil, but the first racist remark will be addressed, and if it continues, we’ll explain that we cannot be party to such hatred and leave. Because really, I will not sit silent, and NO ONE wants me to get up in arms. I ain’t pretty when I get loud.

  • it’s such a amazing post over family

    https://kotiom.com