According to a recent study by the nonpartisan and nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute, seven in ten Americans feel negative emotions like sadness, anger or fear when thinking about what’s happening in their country. Strikingly, the largely negative feelings are pretty consistent across ages and political affiliations. Everyone, it seems, feels shitty about everything. So this Thanksgiving is definitely going to be a blast.
Unfortunately, even bummed out people want to talk about the state of the world. We particularly want to talk about it when we’re kind of drunk on mid-shelf merlot and drowsy on tryptophan. And rather than squeezing our expanded bodies together in a show of slovenly unity, we tend to argue. All the more reason to keep to the safe topics away from politics. All the more reason to look for common ground.
But where the hell is the common ground? It’s a complicated question in 2018. Fortunately, there’s still an archipelago of uncontested rhetorical land left. Here’s a guide for those looking to navigate toward safety.
Topic: Political Divisiveness is a Real Bummer
Follow up: Shouldn’t we really work together because that’s how we keep the terrorists from winning?
Topic: We’re More Alike Than We Are Different
Follow up: We all want more money, right? I mean, Uncle Dave has a ton, but the rest of us could use a hand up.
Topic: At Least We Can All Agree That Family Trumps Everything.
Follow up: Did it trigger anyone when I said Trump?
Topic: Let’s Change the Subject
Follow up: We don’t want to get into all that, do we?
Topic: Beach Week, Daytona, 1982
Follow up: I mean, amiright?
Topic: Drinking alcoholic beverages is still fun!
Follow up: Beers great, isn’t it?
Topic: Uncle Dave is an Asshole!
Follow up. His wife isn’t great either, right?
Topic: Yeah, Another Beer Sounds Good
Follow up. You want one too?
Topic: Turkeys Are Basically Dinosaurs. We’re Basically Eating a Dinosaur.
And also? After the apocalypse? We’ll all be cannibals. Is there any more mid-shelf Merlot?
Topic: You gonna finish that?
Follow up: You know that feeling when you hate yourself, but don’t care anymore?
Topic: The Universe is Inherently Chaotic and Humans Were Cursed with a Brain That Seeks Patterns in Hopes of Finding Meaning and Purpose When in Fact There is Likely None and We Will All Die and be Forgotten Anyway So Does it Even Matter?
Follow up. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
Follow up. Burn it all down.
Topic: Is this furniture flammable?
Follow up. Do you mind if I drag couch onto the lawn?
Topic: The neighbors look really nervous.
Follow up. What is the average police response time in this neighborhood?
Topic: Am I Still Invited to Dinner Next Year?
Follow up. See you then.