Politics is one of the most contentious subjects in our society. Political polarization and the intensity of opinions have never been more pronounced. This can create a perfect storm of conflict during the holidays, when people with widely different views are brought together in the same place, and family dynamics can raise the temperature in the room.
Most Americans dread the thought of political discussions during the holidays. A recent poll found politics to be one of the most likely causes of family fights. Things have only gotten worse in recent years as the country has become more polarized. Things could be particularly intense this year, with the impeachment inquiry into President Trump going on throughout the holiday season.
Why there’s debate
These factors lead many families to avoid political talk over the holidays, either as a formal rule or an unspoken guideline. With there being little chance of anyone’s minds changing and a high likelihood of hurt feelings, the belief is that it’s better to keep the peace and focus on commonalities rather than divisions. Others say that following political news has become such an all-consuming and exhausting endeavor, it’s nice to have a break even if the topic won’t lead to a fight.
On the other hand, there are some who believe politics ought to be discussed at holiday gatherings. Family members or close friends can help put a human face on opposing views at a time when rival political parties are increasingly treated as radical enemies. The holidays also provide a rare opportunity to interact with people from different racial, social and economic groups. Finally, some experts believe it’s important for us to understand things that are important to the key people in our lives. If that means providing room for them to discuss political positions they’re passionate about, so be it. Read more