Everyone has that one relative or acquaintance back in their hometown who is a ticking time bomb, ready to let loose with a “We need to keep the Muslims out!” or a “The only class war is against the rich!” There’s that well-intentioned left-of-center family member who declares himself to be “colorblind” or claims to have solved racism because she read one article by Ta-Nehisi Coates. While the holidays are an opportunity to reconnect and spend quality time with family and old friends, they’re often also an occasion for awkward political conversations. To help you get through the painful, eye-roll-inducing moments, I’ve made these handy holiday BINGO cards for things you’re hoping you can make it through a few days with no one saying to you. If you lose, you win! If you win, you lose!
I’m not saying that everyone’s hometown is a rightwing hellscape (or that we have all of these issues squared away in our cozy liberal communities). However, I know I am not alone in spending most of my time with people who share my political beliefs, and the holidays are often one of the few times we get confronted face to face with unvarnished bigotry. I freely admit that I often opt for pretending I didn’t really hear something, mumbling under my breath, and reaching for another glass of wine. But it may be that you are the only one in that person’s life who will ask them some questions and dig into those beliefs. It’s possible that a respectful conversation could be enlightening for everyone involved. There may be times when it’s better not to rock the boat, or when you don’t want to expend your emotional energy fighting when you’re trying to relax and have fun. But it may be worth a try once or twice over this holiday season to share your passion and your ideals in an honest and hopefully productive conversation.