Answer: Number three again. Rationale: You look good, and if a Trump Relative carved the turkey, it might behoove you to chill out until the sharp objects are in the dishwasher.
Pop quiz: A man takes two people hostage. He has a gun. He threatens to kill the hostages, and then himself. To change his mind, do you:
- Tell him he is wrong, and has a deranged outlook on life
- Explain that everything will be fine if he’d just hand over the gun
- Try to create a bond with him and see where it goes
Answer: number three. Rationale: You do not persuade people by insulting or coercing them.
Now, Quiz 2: Your Dad voted for Trump. You voted for Hillary. You are angry, he is delighted. You are heading home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or some other special occasion, hoping to enjoy your family’s company instead of engaging in a scorched earth battle. Do you:
- Tell him the country is going to hell in a hand basket, and it’s his fault
- Say that, the last time you checked, a racist, bigoted billionaire isn’t uniquely qualified to solve America’s problems
- Ask genuine questions about why he voted the way he did, showing yourself to be curious and open-minded.
Finally, Kohlrieser notes:
“There’s a lot of sadness and fear and anger” among people who voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton." He says that before you enter a tense family environment, you must:
1. Know your emotions and be prepared to manage them
2. Be curious: listen with an intent to hear, rather than react
3. Acceptance does not mean agreement
“We have to recognize that there is deep grief all around." And,
“We have to try and understand their alienation,” he said.
So, your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to sally forth into Thanksgiving dinner, a veritable Knight Errant of goodwill and harmony, armed with hostage negotiation principles, and deal effectively with your Republican relatives, even your crazy Evangelical cousin from Dubuque; not get redfaced; not become apopleptic; neither alienate nor become alienated.