Just as the fictional family, the Reagans, on the hit series Blue Bloods does, my family has a Sunday dinner.
The family is diverse in that about half of the family believes in THE BIG LIE, that the former president had the election stolen from him and that there was voting fraud running rampant throughout several states.
There is no changing their minds; regardless of how many times the votes were counted, recounted, reviewed by the courts, or ruled on by the Supreme Court.
This is creating a schism within the family.
If you were the patriarch of the family, how would you handle this situation?
Those are excellent discussion rules for a family dinner or even when friends get together…if everyone will agree to the rules. I can also see in some circumstances where all of the discussion time might be taken up by trying to decide on a referee!
A number of good points being made. As far as discussions, would not the final determining factors be: honesty, truth, and facts…otherwise, what would the discussion be based on…opinions? Perhaps as long as they are declared as opinions.
I'm so glad that our children agree with us regarding politics. It has to be because of our strong and compassionate values. We never disagree, are a Union family, which makes our family get-togethers cookouts, and dinners fun and less stressful. It is worse with our friends and some other family members who just can't help themselves and have to give us their views! We NEVER give them ours and try to ignore what they say but it got harder each time so we've had to create some distance. No more cookouts and dinners with them. I can't understand why they are so mad. We had to put up with their guy for 4 years, never talked to them about it and kept our views to ourselves, but they can't wait to spew their hate to us. They need to keep their opinions to themselves. Then maybe we can get together for dinner again.
@postman29 So sorry you have had to go through that. Like I said, at a party, family get together or gatherings at a person's home, it can make you feel captive when strong political views break out. They are rarely handled with mutual respect or kindness. Christine
This is where my authoritarian streak shows up, I'm afraid, @nctarheel . If I were Matriarch in such a situation, I would ban political discussion at the dinner table. Family members are free to squabble elsewhere, preferably outside, out of my hearing. As much as I would have my own strong opinions on such a topic, airing them over dinner is not good for digestion, and trying to convert others to my side won't work and won't heal anything.
I can envision, if family members are adamant about discussion it, holding a specific meeting just for that purpose, AND ONLY IF there are ground rules for the discussion such as:
no name calling
no casting aspersions on people with opposite views
positions must be backed by facts
facts must be grounded in neutral sources
one person talks at a time
participants may not bring weapons to the discussion
participants must agree to disagree
participants must agree to not make "being right" more important than being family
And final rule -- the discussion ends when I say it ends, at least if it's happening in my house!
We have a major political divide among my family. Some of us can discuss things reasonably even without wanting to change the other side's minds - just to understand better.
But some of us can't be polite so we have a no politics rule. Everyone agreed to it to save the family and it's worked for years with only minor glitches.
We have so much else to talk about. My husband and I spent a 4 day weekend with the cousin and her family who are furthest away from our opinions - and my husband and my cousins husband are the two individuals who are furthest apart, and yet they had a great bonding weekend and found so much they had in common. And now although they still can't talk politics they don't see each other as bad people. Win-win.
Agree to ground rules for family events in the future, including when politics can and will be discussed....and ask that any so-called facts be backed up with resources.....decide on a time-limit for those presenting their views.....rotate in a family referee and if possible, allow the ref to decide on a winner of each point of contention.....makes it fun and a game-like. Keep alcohol to a minimum and ban guns from the premises.....
If you routinely express intolerance, please consider the definition of "bigotry".
@nctOrarheel The easy obvious solution, stop talking about politics around the dinner table. Frankly, stop talking about politics with your family in general. What's more important, trying without success to get your family to see your point of view or strong, loving respectful family connections? Meanwhile, look for another venue for your passion for politics. Christine
@nctOrarheel What's more important, trying without success to get your family to see your point of view or strong, loving respectful family connections?
How can you have strong respectful family connections when part of your family is arguing that an insurrection never happened, that peaceful people were taking a stroll through the Capitol when all evidence, including video, shows law enforcement getting severely beaten.
That means that those family members do not respect you enough to tell the truth in my book.
I'm not @Rhymesometimes but from the other side of the aisle, I do. Because when my family members, having gotten their news from a different side of the media, see the world through different eyes, I do not think they don't respect me. I do not think they are not telling "the truth." I sometimes think they interpret things differently from me. I sometimes think they hyper-focus on only specific news reports. But I assume they are still the people I love and with whom I've shared an upbringing. And I respect them as I hope they respect me, because I know that we are all prone to spend most of our time with people and sources who support our beliefs. And that makes us all fallible without being liars.
From the other side of the aisle, I've experienced sitting down at a dinner table (not with family where we have since imposed no politics rules), and having had people launch into a political tirade assuming no one they know and like could POSSIBLY disagree. And I've held my tongue and tried to change the topic.
I've had guests who are my friends insult other guests who are also my friends because the latter dared express an unpopular view.
I've seen chat rooms gang up on anyone expressing a conservative viewpoint, even politely.
Honestly when I was a young liberal I thought conservatives were all evil. But I honestly didn't know any personally and never had them attack me or my friends. But I'm sure it happened. I believe there are rude people on both sides of the aisle, and people who assume anyone who sees the world differently is lying on both sides of the aisle.
But it was only in the last maybe 20 years when I really started to watch social interaction that I saw as much, if not more unbridled ad hominem attacks from the left. But again, they come from both sides. But I choose to view my family and friends more broadly than their political beliefs.
Because when my family members, having gotten their news from a different side of the media, see the world through different eyes, I do not think they don't respect me. I do not think they are not telling "the truth."
When my family members see with their own eyes those carrying flags with the former president's name on them, breaking windows, breaking doors and then beating those in law enforcement with those flags and then those same family members call those actions a stroll through the Capitol like a tourist might do, I can only take that as disrespecting my intellectual ability to separate the truth from lies.
I've obviously not sat at your dinner table with your family. If someone said the attack on the capital (see conservatives can call it that) was a "stroll through the capital lie a tourist might do" I would think they were stupid. I would therefore not think they were smart enough to take their words as an insult to ME.
If they were relatives, I would think "Oh dear, cousin Fred sure is an idiot, but he was as a kid too so why am I surprised. But he's family, I just need to remember not to talk about anything other than he stamp collection with him." And no, I wouldn't be friends with that level of stupid because we'd have little in common. But I can love someone without liking them, if they are family.
To me it's not about politics it's about grace and love.
That's where I disagee with you - I don't think it's about our relationship when someone disagrees with my views. If their view was way on the fringe of EITHER side of the aisle, like the comment you quoted about the stroll in the capital - I think they are stupid. But why would that mean they disrespected me. They can't help being stupid.
If they are persistent in wanting to change my mind and wont listen to a "no politics"rule, I will stop being friends with me. I did that once. We have one social group with whom we have an annual reunion. We have a no politics rule there. One women wouldn't abide by it. She's no longer invited.
If their view was way on the fringe of EITHER side of the aisle, like the comment you quoted about the stroll in the capital - I think they are stupid.
I don't think my family members are stupid. I believe they saw the same four GOP members of Congress making statements a couple of days ago that I did. They described the "attack" as a stroll through the Capitol, going as far as saying the crowd stayed within the ropes as they "strolled through the Capitol". I can't call them stupid because they are taking their guidance from those members of Congress, people in responsible positions.
I consider it stupid to take your news and make your decisions based on limited input. But it's very common. I also don't consider it disrespectful to me to believe even limited news reporting rather than believing me. I think ... it's common and normal.
As I said, to me the issue is - can I still be loving and gracious to my relatives if they are foolish (stupid), opinionated, disagree with me etc.? I don't consider those things to be aimed at me. So I try my best to be a good relative.
I have cut a relative out of my life. But it had to do with non-political, very personal things about how she treated me personally. So I have my limits
But that's me, and you and I aren't the same person, which is good. We could go around in circles for ages and we're not going to see it the same way. Hopefully you don't feel I've been disrespectful to you.
@Centristsin2010 Didn't make myself clear, ( and I apologize ). When I said, "Meanwhile, look for another venue for your passion for politics." I wasn't referring to you personally not being able to share your views on line, ( go for it ) I meant that maybe you and your family can pick another place ( neutral ) to discuss politics, and only include those who want to participate. At a family gathering in someone's home might not be ideal.
I remember years ago ( when I was married to my first husband ) Having to sit through countless political debates with my in-laws at their house. It was like "Family Ties." Remember that show with Michael J Fox? He was conservative and his parents were liberals. Funny on tv, no so in real life. We stayed calm and respectful, and my in-laws would be yelling and name calling by the end. I finally got a backbone ( after a few years of this ) and said if they are going to talk politics, I would leave the table. Married at 21, so this was not easy to stand up for myself. My husband didn't back me up, so even more difficult and hurtful. Hot button situation for me? Oh, ya. I Christine
I assumed @Rhymesometimes 's comment " look for another venue for your passion for politics" meant don't talk politics at the dinner table even if it isn't a family rule yet. It does take two or more to have an argument.
I've found doing dishes when I choose not to engage in an argument that is going nowhere is relaxing. Once the kitchen ended up with more people cleaning than the living room had arguing. This was not with family where we have solved our divide problem.