No holiday for political talk, social media posts suggest

 In Science
As Americans feasted on turkey Thursday during the nation’s first major post-election holiday, some took to social media to describe the political gloating, loathing and subject avoiding they experienced around the Thanksgiving table.

Facebook and Twitter posts, many even before dinner was served, revealed some people still struggling to come to grips with Donald Trump’s victory and others expressing relief that his rival, Hillary Clinton, didn’t win.

Some explained through posts and interviews that celebrating a holiday centered on gratitude and sustenance provided some healing of divisions, even if just temporarily.

Crisis averted

Sarah Littlefield feared the worst as she processed the election results and looked ahead to Thanksgiving dinner.

“If Trump wins b/c of Michigan, thanksgiving with my Marxist Michigander grandparents is going to be so painful,” she posted on Twitter earlier this month.

But on Thursday, Littlefield said things were going more smoothly than feared when her liberal grandmother and partner visited the home of her independent but conservative parents in Alexandria, Virginia.

“There is a lot of common ground — no one here found a perfect candidate,” said Littlefield, a 21-year-old who is studying American government and global studies as a senior at the University of Virginia.

Littlefield said she voted for Clinton but doesn’t know how her parents voted “because I don’t want to open that can of worms.” Her grandmother and partner said they opted for Clinton, but Littlefield said they don’t seem “most enthusiastic.”

Littlefield said the real concerns have involved dinner itself. Her family discovered Wednesday that the oven was broken, so they bought a turkey roaster. This is also Littlefield’s first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian, so, she said, “I’m making rice for myself.”

Turning the tables

Mike Mower considered setting up three tables at the Thanksgiving lunch he and his wife were hosting for a large group in Salt Lake City, Utah: one for Trump supporters, one for Clinton supporters and one for backers of independent candidate Evan McMullin.

But Mower, a longtime Republican and deputy chief of staff for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, tweeted that there were too many Clinton supporters to go forward with that plan.

His wife overruled the plans for separate seating anyway, declaring that people would mix despite political affiliations. They did, however, intentionally put their eldest daughter, a 23-year-old liberal who lives in Brooklyn, far from her grandfather, an 86-year-old Trump supporter.

One son, a political science major and Clinton supporter, wanted to make the pie a representative chart showing Clinton won more of the popular vote.

“I told him ‘We’re not using dessert for political posturing,'” said Mower, laughing.

The kids are listening

In the run-up to the holiday, Bernadeia Johnson took to Twitter with some advice: “Thanksgiving is the first holiday after the election. children may not be at the adult table but they hear your convo. Model civility”

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