How to talk politics at the Thanksgiving table

When you think about Thanksgiving, certain holiday staples inevitably come to mind. A juicy turkey. The gleeful shouts of playing children. A loud football game playing in the background (with the Detroit Lions probably losing). And political conversation. Awkward, awkward political conversation.

Considering that American politics have always been intensely polarizing, it makes sense that heated political disagreements will arise among impassioned family members when they’re gathered for a big holiday. But is there any way to keep those conversations civil?

“Don’t use liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. No generalization. No absolutes,” Pete Dominick, a comedian and host of SiriusXM’s “Stand Up With Pete Dominick,” told me on “Salon Talks.” “That stops the conversation. If I find out you’re a conservative, I’ve decided everything about what I think you believe. And that’s no good.”

This advice is certainly a welcome way to start. If these conversations are going to happen no matter what — and let’s be honest here, that is frequently the case — then at the very least it helps to establish ground rules that will prevent either side from feeling unfairly stereotyped.

It also helps to…

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