Some friendly advice on how to avoid mentioning the T-word when spending the day with relatives
This Thanksgiving, plan on observing a day of silence Trump silence. Try to enjoy this day of togetherness and gratitude without uttering the name of the 45th president. Ask your friends and family attending your Thanksgiving Day dinner to honor your plan.
We understand that this will not be easy. And so we have prepared a list of FAQs to help prepare you and yours for a day of Trump silence.
How should we begin the meal?
Traditionally, many families take a moment before the meal begins to say grace or recite a short prayer of thanks. This year, in lieu of those blessings we recommend that all present repeat the following together:
To save this turkey day from violence
We hereby take this vow of silence.
We will express our gratitude
In bland and empty platitude.
I pledge allegiance to the bird
And promise not to say T-word.
I like the idea, but a full day? I dont think I can do it. Frankly, it seems impossible.
This is a common sentiment. We recognize that not everyone will be able to go an entire day. For guests at your meal who feel they must talk about Trump, we recommend they pretend to be smokers, step outside, and furiously shout to themselves until they feel they can return to the table. You might also encourage them to call an MSNBC emergency Trump hotline where they can bark expletives for a small fee. They can return once they have recovered their composure.
What can we talk about, then?
This, too, is a common question. But recall, there are many things to talk about besides Trump. You can use this as a chance to ask your children about their education or lives in general; to discuss recent breakthroughs in phyllotaxis, the study of mathematical patterns in plant life; to compare with friends how many cups of coffee you drink in a day, and when in the day you drink them. The topics are virtually limitless.
Is it OK to at least talk about what a loathsome, boot-licking toady Devin Nunes is?
We think not. Remember, this may seem like a point of universal agreement, but ol Uncle Ernie, with his aluminum foil hat, may feel differently!
Can we still serve our peach-mint jelly?
This is a difficult one. However innocent your intent, we do worry that in a divided household, this may come across as a subtle but unmistakable provocation. We would urge you, maybe for just this year, to stick with the cranberry sauce. Similarly, under no circumstances should you consider swapping the traditional turkey main course for chicken kiev.
What about the story of Thanksgiving?
Tread carefully here. Be careful not to deviate from the script of Pilgrims celebrating their survival in Plymouth with their Native American frenemies. By no means allow this to slip into a tale of heavily armed white supremacists stealing food from the undocumented ancestors of Elizabeth Warren. Consider skipping the Thanksgiving story altogether; try telling a heart-warming Hanukah tale instead.
What if, during dessert, a guest suddenly blurts out: He could win in 2020!! WHAT THEN???
This is bound to happen. Preparation is the key. Not responding is the first step. We recommend then gently escorting your guest to a quiet room in the house. Give them time for a good cry and several minutes of deep, clearing breaths. Should the episode repeat, we suggest discreetly wrapping your guests head with duct tape.
I receive notifications of the presidents tweets on my iPhone. What if in the middle of our meal, I see that he has tweeted a fresh outrage against basic human decency and the precepts of constitutional governance? Can I at least mime this to others at the table?
Yes, of course. After all, we must be realistic about what were asking of people.
Lawrence Douglas is the James J Grosfeld professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought, at Amherst College, Massachusetts. He is also a contributing opinion writer for Guardian US. Nancy Pick is a writer based in western Massachusetts