You Are Under No Obligation To Talk Politics During Thanksgiving

A short guide on surviving family during the holidays

John DeVore
6 min readNov 20
Photo by Davies Designs Studio on Unsplash

You don’t have to talk politics during Thanksgiving dinner if you don’t want to. If a family member feels compelled to say something provocative while the mashed potatoes are being passed, you have my permission to chug gravy directly from the boat.

It is not your responsibility to confront racist uncles, transphobic cousins, or misogynistic granddads. Let them deny science and defend xenophobia. Allow them their thoughtless soliloquies about the vulnerable.

Meanwhile, help yourself to the best parts of the turkey. Thanksgiving should be about unbuckling your pants, not unbuckling your prejudices.

Here’s my advice just in case a relative shares their thoughts on immigrants or Muslims or, god forbid, brings up a conspiracy theory. Ready? Just shovel carbohydrates into your mouth while imagining all the nice things you won’t say at their funeral. There is a time to speak truth to power and a time to butter a hot roll. Knowing the difference is very important.

There is only one 100% true conspiracy anyway, and it goes like this: the overwhelming majority of powerful people — billionaires, CEOs, generals, judges, politicians — are old white men who think they will live forever.

The fifth commandment says, “honor thy father and mother.” It does not say, “Put up with Uncle Bob’s bullshit.” Uncle Bob is unhappy beyond words. He has been told by talking heads on cable news that drag queens want to destroy him, which you know, and I know, is not true. But the truth does not matter. Only the rage matters. It’s too bad Uncle Bob isn’t in therapy.

When Uncle Bob isn’t staring at his television, he’s gazing into his phone at apps designed to amplify fears and trigger dopamine surges in the brains of self-righteous partisan berserkers. He’s trapped in a maze of screens. You don’t have to be trapped with him.

I don’t know if your racist relatives are doomed to live in dread and ignorance. I, mean, probably? But Thanksgiving dinner isn’t the time or the place to appeal to their humanity. I…



John DeVore

I created Humungus, a blog about pop culture, politics, and feelings. Support the madness: https://johndevore.medium.com/subscribe