What happens when you demand an opinion of someone on something that they do not care about? One of two things. Either they, one, will become immediately annoyed and hate you and probably yell at you or, two, they will make up an opinion that fits loosely in line with their political beliefs. In neither instance are you making any progress. In the former, you will get in an actual fight in a venue where most people have knives at their immediate disposal. In the latter, you will not convince someone to adopt your point of view, because their opposition will be based on emotion, not rationality. This will not work.
But apparently people need guides on these things. So, with no more ado, our List of Thanksgiving Tips™ for how to avoid and, further, curtail any tedious discussion about politics.
Tip 1: Do not mention obvious political topics. This is pretty straightforward. Do not mention: Healthcare.gov, Obamacare, immigration, Ronald Reagan, the NSA, the Arctic, hanging chads, the Lend-Lease Act, any of it. It seems prohibitive, to be sure, this lengthy list of things for which there exist political overtones. But it's really not! Talk about your family. How they're doing. Their friends. Their jobs. Sports. The weather. The neighborhood. Your city (but not its leaders). Pets. We are not Fox News or CNN; we do not need to fill hours with we're-keeping-an-eye-on-this breaking news alerts about issues that keep Obama up at night. We are normal people who actually have lives that do not revolve around matters of universal importance. Embrace that.
Please note: You may think it is OK to talk about politics because you think all of your Brooklyn/Charleston friends agree with you on everything. They don't.
Tip 2: Do not try to trick people into talking about politics. You think you are clever, perhaps, as do we all, and you may try and trick your hated uncle into weighing in on Obamacare so that you may explain to him the issues related to the website and/or what you think it means for 2014. You get to talk about politics; you do not get the blame for bringing it up.
While passive aggressiveness is a tried and true Thanksgiving tactic, this is a particularly lame way to do it. Use your passive aggression to instead point out that your cousin's new "look" doesn't really work very well for him or to suggest that perhaps your nieces and nephews should sit down and eat instead of being little idiots running around all over. Focus, is the point. If you must undermine those around you, do it in a way that will still be relevant at next year's Thanksgiving.
Tip 3. If someone brings up politics, treat it as you would any other unpleasant and undesired topic. Let's say you're sitting across from your grandmother, and she proceeds to describe the battery of tests to which she was subjected, revealing that her rash was impetigo that required a special cream for treatment. You do not want to talk about this, because it's gross. What do you do? You change the topic. "Oh, well I'm glad they figured it out! Is that why you're wearing that beautiful blouse, Gran? Where did you get it?" And: boom. Topic changed.