At Thanksgiving, don’t skip out on the conversation about politics

by Daily Editorial Board

In a few days, for Thanksgiving, many of us will sit down with our extended families for the first time since the most contentious, polarizing and shocking election of our lifetimes. We will be in close proximity to those we love — and while we may be related by blood, a deep political gulf often runs between us.

Discussing politics can be hard, especially in families cleaved by the conservative-liberal divide. If you’re able to keep composure, and if you’re willing to engage in productive conversation, perhaps this is the time to listen to your kith and kin.

If we’ve realized anything in this election, it’s that our country is deeply divided, and many of us don’t understand the qualms, grievances and deep-seated fears of those opposite us on the political spectrum.

Conversation, not silence, is what we need. It’s imperative to our democracy, and maybe it will act as a panacea for post-election confusion.

For many Clinton voters, the outcome of Nov. 8 has produced shock, worry and despair. And it’s clear that Trump’s administration bodes ill for Clinton supporters and minorities of many races, gender identities, creeds and orientations.

But for those of us who identify as liberal and thought Trump was unconscionable, do we really know why our relatives voted for Trump?

Yes, it could be because they hold racist, misogynistic, queerphobic or sexist beliefs. If that’s the case, we surely need conversation.

But perhaps they voted for Trump because they sought a candidate who was anti-establishment, or they felt like their economic livelihood had been slighted by a Democratic administration. Perhaps they were drawn to Trump’s unfiltered, albeit bigoted, provocations.

Whatever the reason, supporters of both Clinton and Trump ought to listen to each other. Conversation spurs empathy, and there’s never a limit to empathy.