- - Sunday, December 1, 2019

Thanksgiving has now passed but Christmas is coming. Every year, we hear the same generic messaging from everyone during the holidays about how people don’t get along with their family during at certain meals. Politics will inevitably come up in conversation and — gasp — a stereotypical uncle will say something that we don’t agree with.

There have been comedy sketches, dramatic articles in left-leaning publications like the Huffington Post, and social media memes a-plenty on the topic. So, how will you ever be able to handle differing political opinions at one meal with your family during the holiday season? The answer is simple: Grow up.

Over the past few decades children (including college students) have been taught that everyone is a winner and a special snowflake –- and that they should be protected from anything they don’t believe in. That generation isn’t familiar with a world where people can have different points of view, debate those points of view and, after the argument, still be friends.  


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What once would have been viewed as a friendly discussion about what’s going on in the world and each other’s lives is now viewed as an assault on their well being. Where culturally we once communed together and shared our differing perspectives, some are now conditioned to fight, and declare the other so offensive that they don’t deserve a place in the same society (which, by the way, is how fascism works).

I remember sitting at a table with my family and friends decades ago at Thanksgiving and happily arguing politics. We all would really get into it with one another and at the end of the day, we wouldn’t end up agreeing on anything other than our love for each other. There was no dread of the conversation, no fear that someone’s feelings were going to be hurt, and no concept that anyone should be silenced because of their opinions. Those were the days when we realized that no one’s opinion offended anyone; and if someone took offense, it was their own fault –- the days when people behaved like — adults.



Yes, there was a time when we took personal responsibility for our own emotions and actions; when we weren’t provided “safe spaces” to hide from opinions we didn’t like; and when we realized that our differences in opinion and ability to share them were what made our country great. We now have a generation that was raised to believe the world revolves around them — one where if you don’t agree with them personally, you’re the outlier, and shouldn’t have a place both literally and figuratively at the table. This mindset is not only weakening us as a nation, but weakening individuals as humans – and those who have it, don’t realize how bad it is for them.

Grown ups shouldn’t need guides on how to communicate with one another at a holiday meal –- and as I assume you’re a grown up reading this. It’s goofy to think that right now at this very moment, someone is trying to figure out just how they’re going to deal with a simple conversation at a table with someone they’re related to. They’re mapping out just how they’re going to cope with mere words that a relative will speak at a table, just because they don’t agree with them. In the same vein, it’s depressing to think that a generation of people have been trained that this stress and inability to cope with alternative opinions from their own is somehow normal.

If we didn’t have differing opinions from one another, the world would never improve. It’s the outliers among us who throughout history have come up with the brilliant ideas that have made our country better. If we all settled in and thought the same way, not only would America be boring, but its society would never progress. And if the “safe space” crowd is allowed to categorize the outliers — especially a member of their own family — as “dangerous” and deserving of silencing, we literally become a fascist society dominated by regressive groupthink.

So what should you do if you’re dreading a big holiday meal with family members that you don’t agree with politically? Grow up.

You don’t choose your family, but you do choose your own behavior. This holiday season, choose to be personally responsible adult. Realize that it’s perfectly OK that everyone has a different perspective on the world, and know that it’s not their opinions that hurt you, it’s you that hurts you. 

• Tim Young is a political comedian and author of “I Hate Democrats/I Hate Republicans” (Post Hill Press).

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