- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thanksgiving dinner signals the beginning of the holiday get-together season when family and friends are supposed to dine together and enjoy shared moments. Yes, well. That ideal outcome has been sullied in recent years after the occasion was politicized — primarily by certain Democrats who urged the public to consider the festive meal an opportunity to talk up Obamacare and other issues.

Things appear to have gotten unhappy in the aftermath. The majority of Americans now say that talking politics with someone they disagree with is generally stressful or unpleasant rather than interesting or enlightening.

So says a new Pew Research Center poll of almost 11,000 U.S. adults which reveals that 54 percent of the public agree that political discussions with someone from the other side of the aisle can be trying — 7 percentage points higher since the pollster took a similar survey in 2016.

“The change in opinions has come largely among Democrats: 57 percent now say that talking about politics with people they disagree with is stressful and frustrating, up from 45 percent two years ago. By contrast, Republicans’ feelings about political conversations with people they disagree have changed very little. About half (49 percent) continue to find such conversations stressful and frustrating,” the poll analysis said.

There’s an ideological divide as well: 63 percent of liberal Democrats get stressed out, compared to 53 percent of conservative Republicans.

There’s a social and cultural price here, though. Annoyance with differing opinions feeds polarization. The survey also found that 63 percent of all respondents said these discussions only serve to emphasize that the two sides have little in common. Only 31 percent said these encounters inspired then to think they had “more in common” with the opposing view.

The numbers were almost identical among the liberals and conservatives of each party.

The poll did not address whether the news media plays a role in fanning the flames of discord. Consider that consistent Media Research Center studies found that 91 percent of broadcast news stories about President Trump were negative or hostile since he took office. The conservative press watchdog also found that 88 percent of broadcast coverage of the Republican Party was negative as well.

Such an influence could enrage Republicans — and encourage Democrats.

CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

Republicans vs. Democrats. Will there ever be a truce? Well, maybe. There was a little one over the weekend.

Live and on-camera, “Saturday Night Live” comic Pete Davidson publicly apologized for mocking Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw, Texas Republican and a former Navy SEAL who had been seriously wounded in combat. The two sat side by side, traded good natured barbs, shook hands and praised U.S. military veterans; it was a rare neutral moment when “SNL” was not berating either Mr. Trump or Republicans.

“Apology accepted,” Mr. Crenshaw said.

“For one day, Republicans and Democrats agreed on one thing: I’m a [expletive],” Mr. Davidson noted.

The surprise segment brought in some genuine kudos in the last 24 hours — including tweets from Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro (“The most politically uplifting moment in years”), NRA analyst Dana Loesch (“Great, bravo”), and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (“This is the way things should be done”).

Haven’t seen it? Find the clip here

FOR THE LEXICON

“I THINK I VOTED”

The phrase is a new suggested substitute voting sticker — presumably for those who live in states where a recount is underway, suggested by columnist Seton Motley, founder of the nonprofit Less Government.

NOT OVERLOOKED

“We remember the countless sacrifices that our country’s heroic veterans have made throughout our history to preserve our liberty and prosperity. Our veterans embody the values and ideals of America and the timeless virtue of serving a greater cause,” President Trump noted in his official proclamation for Veterans Day, released before he left for France this weekend.

“As Commander in Chief of our heroic Armed Forces, I humbly thank our veterans and their families for their selflessness and love of country as we remember their service and their sacrifice. Today, and every day, we pay tribute to those who have worn the uniform, and we pray for the safety of all currently serving in harm’s way,” the president said.

A PASSING CELEBRITY MOMENT

Little things mean a lot, particularly when they were owned by a celebrity.

Here’s the most recent evidence, provided as a small break from politics. Los Angeles-based Julien’s Auctions staged an “Icons & Idols Rock and Roll” auction over the weekend, and here are just a handful of the items which were up for bid, and the prices that they ultimately fetched:

Michael Jackson’s iconic 1987 “Bad” world tour black, multi-buckled jacket ($298,000); Prince’s white Collings 290 guitar used during his final stage performance in 2016 ($456,250); Madonna’s tuxedo jacket and a black hat box used in the 1985 film “Desperately Seeking Susan” ($128,125); John Lennon’s green-tinted, flap-framed sunglasses worn in The Beatles 1967 “Penny Lane” movie short ($40,625); Whitney Houston’s chiffon gown designed by Versace (and worn onstage in 1998 ($25,600); Elton John’s handwritten lyrics for the 1973 tune “I’ve Seen That Movie Too” ($17,500); Aretha Franklin’s pink silk gown designed by Bill Blass and worn onstage in 1993 ($10,000).

POLL DU JOUR

25 percent overall of Americans say the immigrant caravan is “an immediate and serious threat to the U.S.”; 54 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

17 percent overall say the caravan is “a somewhat serious threat”; 23 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

17 percent overall say it is “a minor threat”; 16 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree.

28 percent say the caravan is “not a threat to the U.S.”; 5 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

13 percent are unsure; 2 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 4-6.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin


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