How Do I Find Post-Election Commonality with Family During the Holidays?


I’m over at Off the Page today for this month’s “Ask Addie” column. Today, I’m answering a question from a progressive, Jewish woman about how to have good, meaningful post-election conversation with her evangelical relatives during Thanksgiving.

“My relative posted on social media that you shouldn’t place so much significance in one man or woman…but instead should find security in Jesus,” she wrote. “But I am a Jewish gal unlikely to ever find security in Jesus, whose grandmother had to flee because of one man.”

How, she wondered, should she approach this in a way that would help her relatives understand where she’s coming from? Is it possible to find connection in these divisive spaces?

I’ll be honest. I almost didn’t respond to this question.

I am a notorious avoider-of-conflict. I never post anything on Facebook (at least on my personal page) other than cute pictures of my kids and links to articles about the Gilmore Girls. When I say something even remotely political on my blog, my stomach is in knots for days. And when things get politically heated at the dinner table, I am the one who keeps topping off her wine glass, stress-drinking until I’m half under the table.

As such, I feel like I’m the worst person to answer anyone’s questions about having good, healing dialogue about politics.

And yet…I am an evangelical-ish person who believes that there is indeed a kind of steadied hope in person of Jesus Christ. And I am a person who trying very hard not to freak the hell out about the future of our country in light of the events of recent weeks. So maybe I’m actually the best person to answer this question.

At any rate, I gave it my best shot. Click here to read my response at Off the Page!

6 thoughts on “How Do I Find Post-Election Commonality with Family During the Holidays?

  1. As a fellow avoider-of-conflict who is semi-dreading Thanksgiving dinner (though it’s never as bad as the scenarios my dear, overactive brain imagines), I am very, very grateful for this. When I was growing up, Thanksgiving dinners were quite peaceful since my entire immediate family consists of extreme avoiders-of-conflict who hardly ever discuss politics. I married into a family that has members who are much more vocal about their opinions (even though the majority of them have extremely similar political leanings, so I feel like the opinionated people who start the political discussions are just talking to air their feelings and feel validated. Which I can understand to a degree even as I’ll probably be wishing that I were somewhere else, that I were dead, or that there were alcohol available and that I actually drank said alcohol…). So this Thanksgiving, I am even more grateful that my husband and I still sit at the kids’ table (which is probably more appropriately called the grandkids’ table since the ages range from 8 to 26), where we will–please, dear Jesus; let it be so–talk loudly enough about pleasant topics that we will not be able to hear too much political talk from the grandparents’/parents’ table.

    (Is it bad that I kinda just want tomorrow to be over so that it can be Friday and I can be alone and watch the new Gilmore Girls episodes?)

    1. I totally get it. So with you there. Hope you were able to recover all day Friday with ALL the Gilmore girls!

  2. So beautiful Addie, thank you. I think that’s definitely been one of the hardest things about engaging with my Christian friends: being confronted by the “I put my trust in God alone” or “God is in control” type of language (and I am a Christian). Yes, sure, God is in control, but he was in control throughout multitudes of horrible things that have happened throughout history, and I have a hard time reconciling that. But you’re right, stories are a great place to start. Because when my black friend says she feels like this election told her that half of the country doesn’t respect or want her in the room… that matters. When she gets pulled over by the police and says, “I’m just glad I walked away from it” that matters. God is in control, but it matters what we do on earth. Thanks for this beautiful piece. I’m praying for peaceful Thanksgiving dinners, without forgetting that what’s happening in the world matters.

    1. “God is in control, but it matters what we do on earth.” Yes. Keep sharing the stories.

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