Across America divided politics rule our lives like no time in recent memory. We comb social media and cable news for evidence supporting our cause. Strong opinions stake out the limits of friendships and family ties. With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, gathering loved ones may share views you find abhorrent.
But don’t worry. You’re right and they’re wrong!
Now, before you print out all the e-mail forwards and Facebook memes that show how right you are (and it’s not even close), consider this. It’s the holidays. Even though you’re so right, and they’re so wrong, maybe you could lay off your relatives for now.
I mean, consider how hard it would be to be wrong all the time. The way everyone else is (and you are not!)
Think of it. Not only must your rabidly incorrect kinfolk tie their shoes and operate motor vehicles, but they must also somehow hold their own in debate with you.
It’s not fair.
For instance, when you arrive at your family gathering this Thanksgiving, you will see the faces from all those election year Facebook posts. Big, stupid, wrong faces. Resist the urge to yell at them. (Yelling is like ALL CAPS in the real world).
In fact, several of these people have been very nice to you over the years; feeding you, supporting you, even changing your diapers at one time. It’s too bad their opinions belong in a diaper.
That’s their problem, not yours.
You will also find friends and relatives who agree with you. They are more right than wrong, though of course still not as right as you. Don’t condescend to them. They are trying. Also, resist the urge to gang up on the relatives and friends who are definitely wrong. There is a chance one of the less wrong ones will say something just slightly wrong and ruin your totally correct argument.
At some point, you might encounter a television at your family gathering. This is tricky, because something might appear on the television that reminds you of how right you are. Every time you feel right, try eating food instead of talking.
Just kidding. You would be so fat.
Instead, try to talk about things that would not make the wrong people feel bad. Like, football or children or engines. Your friends and family will be wrong about those things, too, but you will feel less angry.
Debating close friends and relatives can be difficult — for them, on account of how wrong they are. They’ll talk about how the election made them feel. They’ll talk about their fears and hopes. They’re only human, after all, even if they are very wrong humans. The right thing to do is to listen to them.
I mean, you are right, right? So that means always doing the right thing.
At some point you might feel that your friend or relative seems really angry at you for explaining how you are right and they are wrong. Try passing them a copy of this column. They will feel better. These tips work for them, too. (Even though you are more right than them).
Despite all the preparations you’ve made for attending a holiday gathering with your friends and family, you still might encounter situations that are just too contentious for the setting. If that happens, just remember the safe word is “Mmmm, gravy.”
You’re going to be just fine. You’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Life. Liberty. Love. The privilege to live in a country where it’s OK to be right all the time, even if you’re wrong.
Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog MinnesotaBrown.com and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. This piece first appeared in the Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.