Monday, 1 December 2014

Letter From America (About Ugly Redneck Relatives)

Eight Most Ridiculous Suggestions for Talking To Conservatives This Thanksgiving

National Review Online

The Internet is full of advice on how to turn conservative family members into liberals by arguing with them on Thanksgiving. Here are this year’s eight most ridiculous tips:

1. “Redesign” the Macy’s parade to have only female balloons in it – mostly female “politicians” and “activists,” and only the “occasional princess.”

“Family holidays are ripe with opportunities to insert feminist commentary and social critique,” suggests a post titled “Pass the Turkey Spread the Feminism” from Ms. Magazine’s blog. It also suggests that you make fun of how the Elsa balloon probably offends the unrealistic body expectations of Disney —that they “would object to a princess with an expanded waistline” because “princesses can’t take up that much space.”

2. Rewrite the words to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” “to acknowledge the millions of Americans that don’t celebrate Christmas.”

Another suggestion from Ms. Magazine’s blog. Because apparently non-Christian Americans are just so hurt that Christmas songs are about Christmas and need you to save them.

3. Talk to your family about climate change, then “follow up with an email or a Facebook message pointing to whatever (or whoever) you talked about earlier.”

“Maybe your friend or relative will be singing a slightly different tune next time you see them,” suggests the Union of Concerned Scientists. Like what, a tune about how annoying you are?

4. Get into a Biblical argument with your “Evangelical Uncle” about the book of Leviticus to convince him he is wrong about gay marriage at the dinner table.

Has your family ever just been “eating delicious stuffing and having a pleasant conversation” when “suddenly your conservative Christian uncle launches into . . . [a] rant” about the “homosexual agenda”? No, mine neither, but apparently ThinkProgress thinks it’s so common for Evangelicals to interrupt peaceful family dinners with random anti-gay tirades that they had to write an entire article about it. Apparently, the way to deal with it is: Go toe-to-toe on the book of Leviticus, and don’t forget to bring race issues into the discussion! 

5. When your “Tea Party uncle” starts making “wild assertions” about Obamacare, tell him it’s actually just “misunderstood” because evil businesses are using it as a “convenient scapegoat” for the problems they would be having anyway. 

If businesses are saying that the law is forcing them to cut back hours and drop coverage, “they’re probably just using Obamacare as a convenient scapegoat,” states an article in ThinkProgress titled “Thanksgiving Arguments: How to Talk to Your Tea Party Uncle About Obamacare.”

6. If your little niece complains about how she hates having to learn fractions on a number line, tell her that she should love Common Core because “in 43 states it sets common benchmarks for what students should know and be able to do in reading and language arts at every grade level.”

“In the past, each state set its own standards for what students should be learning,” Vox suggests you explain to your niece. It remains unclear why Vox thinks that someone at the age of learning fractions (or, you know, anyone) would ever be interested in a discussion with you about state education standards during Thanksgiving.

7. Reassure conservative relatives that “the president is wholly within his authority” in taking executive action on immigration, “but encourage them to demonstrate really loudly against this executive action so that Democrats can win the Latino vote for a generation.”

A Los Angeles Times piece, titled “What To Do if Your Crazy Right-Wing Uncle Comes for Thanksgiving,” also advises conservatives to fire back at liberals that they should keep “overreaching” so that conservatives can win the presidency in 2016. Wow, sounds like a really pleasant meal – what a way to catch up with loved ones!

8. By the way, don’t you dare think that you shouldn’t discuss politics because talking about the issues – even at Thanksgiving – is a “civic responsibility.”

The author of the L.A. Times piece also advises: “I’m not saying that discussing politics at Thanksgiving is a service on the level of, say, troops returning from Afghanistan.” Oh. Thanks for clearing that up.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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