Thanksgiving is always a time when charged political conversation can send divisions down sides of the table. This year, however, the debate could turn into a full-on fight for some Penn students.
The political standoff caused College sophomore Weslee Sixkiller to avoid going home to spend the holiday with his family.
Sixkiller said he is not going home for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year because of the election.
“I don’t feel safe going home to a house full of Trump supporters and sympathizers since I am a gay man,” he said in an interview.
While some students like Sixkiller are fearing the trip home or avoiding it all together, others are coming up with game plans to diffuse the tension.
College sophomore Sarah Raizen is trying to reduce the strain on her family that politics has caused, and instead would like to preserve the relationships. She said immediately after the election results came out, her mom told her they would not be spending the holiday with her grandparents, who are avid Tea Party supporters.
“Me and my mom are big Hillary [Clinton] supporters, and my dad, while conservative on many issues, voted for Hillary,” she said. Her grandparents, however, “despise” Clinton.
Because she has always spent Thanksgiving with her grandparents, Raizen convinced her mom to prioritize family over politics, but is not leaving the subject up to chance.
She decided to write an email to the extended family in which she explains that “any discussion of politics is off limits.”
“I’m hoping that everything will go smoothly, but I expect there will be some level of tension throughout the day,” she said.
For other students, the plan is to just ignore the heated subject of the election.
“It’s not really a secret which side of the aisle individuals within my family tend to lean,” College senior Emily Fisher said. “We all know."
“If, for some reason, someone is feeling feisty and an argument does break out,” said Fisher, her solution will be to act as a “peaceful, objective moderator” in an attempt to ease the tension.
Fisher said she will do her best to listen to both sides and facilitate a more authentic conversation.
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