As things heat up in the televised debates, the upcoming election drama will inevitably extend to the home and spark debates among families across the country. One dreams of a utopian family ideal in which all members are in agreement politically – sadly this is not the case. Family harmony breaks apart easier than a cracker, and with just as big of a bang where politics are concerned.
Imagine a traditional Christmas scene – fire crackling, mulled wine a-flowing and your uncle accusing your cousin of being a ‘Leftie’ communist – ‘tis the season. Forget your tame, Monopoly fueled feuds; political disagreements take the family row to a whole new level.
It can be hard to enjoy time together with such important, pressing matters on the front of the papers and on everyone’s minds, particularly on such reactionary and emotive issues such as healthcare, education and taxes. Naturally, opinions differ on all these issues, but this is made all the more difficult when they occur within one family. As if family rivalry wasn’t bad enough already, this aptly timed election only adds fuel to the fire that is family fall out.
So, we will never stop the differences, but how can we mitigate the potential damage on the fragile family harmony? Respect is key to keeping disagreements from exploding into a full-blown civil war and is the first step in preserving the peace this Christmas. Recognising and trying to understand other family members’ viewpoint is so important. It can be interesting to hear other views on these contentious matters, even if it is your Great-Aunt's rant about the ‘fuss over nothing’ climate crisis.
However, as families go, things are never quite so simple. If confrontation is unavoidable, come ready and armed with knowledge. If you to have to fight your political corner, come prepared. If your inner politician does get the better of you, at least be prepared to defend your political corner. We’ve seen enough car-crash debates over the last month - don’t let your kitchen table be the scene of another. Try to see this as an opportunity to get stuck into the political scene with your nearest and dearest, whether you agree with them or not.
And lastly, know when to call it a day. If you’ve followed the above step and are still getting nowhere it’s time to take on the role as peacekeeper – even if that means walking away. Sometimes, although frustrating, this is the best option to preserve the peace and enjoy the festive season. Christmas is about spending time with the people you love, and sometimes love can mean sighing, rolling your eyes and retreating. Let the election ruin the country, but not your family Christmas.