A debate-free Thanksgiving to enjoy

I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.

When Thursday rolls around it will be one of those rare opportunities when both my sons and their families will join my wife and I under one roof. I expect the day will be spent with lots of laughter from the three granddaughters, lots of football and of course, lots of great food. Card games will be included as well, with intense and competitive games of euchre played between interesting variations of Old Maid.

Just writing about my expectations puts a smile on my face. And, I want that smile to remain there, thus I will institute a ban on all political conversation that day — at least until evening and well after the Thanksgiving dinner and all the food was enjoyed.

Interestingly, my house will not be the only home where a political ban is imposed.

According to an article in the Washington Post this week, political discussions ruined many a Thanksgiving dinner last year and if it didn’t ruin the dinner, it at least cut short the time spent sitting around the holiday table by at least a half hour to 40 minutes.

A joint study on the subject was conducted by researchers from UCLA and Washington State University. Using data from 10 million smartphones and then linking it to precinct data at the local level from last year’s presidential election, the researchers studied how families spent their Thanksgiving.

The study is intriguing and its findings interesting, but for the sake of this column the study is way too intense to delve too deeply into. Suffice to say, the researchers confirmed that politics did impact many meals, especially in areas where there was a lot of political advertising taking place.

“Our results suggest partisan differences cost American families 62 million person-hours of Thanksgiving time, 56.8 percent from individuals living in Democratic precincts and 43.2 percent from Republican precincts,” wrote the two researchers, M. Keith Chen and Ryne Rohla.

These days I enjoy spirited and intelligent political conversations with both my sons and their wives. One family has viewpoints that more closely line up with mine while the other brings a different perspective with them to many conversations. Regardless of the intensity and passion everyone has, in the end hopefully we all leave with a broader view than when we arrived. That is the beauty of conversation.

And while I appreciate immensely how politics has allowed us to have great conversations, I also understand all too well that lying not too far under the surface might be one of those “hot” buttons that quickly changes a respectful discussion into a contentious one.

Thus, at least during the holiday dinner Thursday it will be talk about football, the children and what everyone is hoping Santa delivers to them for Christmas this year.

For at least a few hours at the Speer Thanksgiving President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Hillary & Bill Clinton will be relegated to the “persona non grata” table. It’s at that table where that cast of characters can talk all they want about Russian fake news, uranium and a revised tax law — out in another room and away from all the rest of us.

Our family will approach Thanksgiving with “an attitude of gratitude” rather than “an air of despair.”

Bill Speer can be reached via email at bspeer@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13.