But we also know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A time to get together with family and continue whatever family traditions were started before you were born and will likely continue in your family in one way or another long after you're gone. My hope is that tradition involves eating more than you should and then going back for more. However, we also know that it's entirely possible that you'll end up trapped in a conversation about one or more of the biggest news items going on in the country today. As our gift to you (consider it an early Christmas present. Also, it's your only Christmas present), Expecting the Spanish Inquisition is presenting you with a Thanksgiving Conversation Guide that will help you out so you can sound like the smartest person in the room when one of the following topics comes up.
Ferguson - The failure to secure an indictment against police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown has resulted in protests across the country. It's led to discussions on issues surrounding the judicial system, the use of force, the fact that it's unknown exactly how many people are killed annually by law enforcement officers and how Black and White America view the police force. Earlier protests also resulted in discussions of the militarization of police forces and crowd control policies used by various police. There's clearly a divide in this country about how the legal system and its perceived flaws. Should this come up at your Thanksgiving celebration, I see one of two ways it being discussed.
"Man, those riots are stupid. What do they hope to gain from it?" is one way.
"Yes, the protests may not be effective at spreading the message they hope to send, but lets examine why they feel the need to protest in the first place. Dr. Martin Luther King said 'a riot is the language of the unheard' so we must ask ourselves, what message is not being heard and what is wrong with the system that these protesters feel acting outside of the system is the only way to have anyone listen to them?" is the other.
Should this situation come up, I believe the following should allow you to escape the conversation without having to worry about hurting anyone's feelings.
"That's something. Hey, what channel is the game on?"
Bill Cosby - America's dad has been in the news recently as more and more women have come forward to accuse him of rape and sexual assault dating back to the 1960s. The famed comedian was the first African-American to costar in a dramatic television series and won three Emmy Awards for his role in I Spy. He went on to create Fat Albert and star in The Cosby Show that was among the country's most popular programs in the 1980s. However, he's been embroiled in controversy stemming from the aforementioned alleged sexual assaults. Again, this is likely to come up, and should it, I see it going in one of two ways.
"Why would he do that?"
"How could he do that?"
Again, we're here to help (and continuing to not answer why we're using the plural voice in this post), so when this comes up simply say "Hey, does anyone know what the score of the game is?"
Benghazi - The attacks by terrorists in Libya have been constant source of outrage, especially for those on the conservative side of the political spectrum. Claiming cover up or conspiracy, some on the right have wanted President Obama impeached over his handling of the situation. Late last week a report from the Republican controlled committee looking in to the incident found no evidence of a coverup and, in fact, found the military and CIA acted appropriately in the wake of the attack. This has led some to believe the entire investigation was done for political points while others see the investigation not digging deep enough to uncover what they believe to be a complete mishandling of the situation.
There are any number of ways this could be brought up depending on the political leanings and/or willingness to believe conspiracy theories of your family. However, should it come up, just remember the phrase "Where's the remote? The first game is over and I need to change the channel to the other game?"
Immigration - President Obama last week took executive action to change how immigration policy is enforced in this country. Essentially what the President did was to re-prioritize which people who are here without proper documentation will be deported first. Those with criminal records or who haven't been in the country for a while will be sent back to their home country first and those who have been here more than five years, have no criminal record and may have children who are American citizens will be lower on the priority list. Obviously this is a sensitive issue with plenty of rhetoric on either side of the debate.
When immigration comes up at your celebration, just say "I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention. I've got $50 on this game and really need the quarterback not to miss open receivers on third and seven."
This obviously isn't a complete list of what may come up, but just remember your ace in the hole should you need an out for any conversation this holiday season. Should you find yourself trapped discussing something you'd rather not, simply say "Oh, that's interesting. Say, want to hear about my fantasy football team?" We've yet to meet anyone, friend or family, who cares how our teams are doing.
Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Expecting the Spanish Inquisition.