Talking turkey at Thanksgiving in the year of Trump

November 23, 2016

thanksgiving-12Opinion by Steve Brody, Ph.D.

Whether here in SLO County or New York City, a good therapist doesn’t tell you what you want to hear. He tells you what you need to know. So after specializing in couples therapy for over 40 years, listen up. Talking turkey politically at the Thanksgiving table has never been easy, but this year it will be especially challenging.

Anti-Trump people, when it comes to cultural change, you can’t rub Pro-Trump noses in it. “The folks,” as Bill O’Reilly rightly calls them, can only swallow so much change in what has been an astronomically short period of time. By the way, this is true for “the folks” in countries from Iran to England as well.

So lighten up. Push for what you believe is just and right, but do so in a gentle and respectful way. As Voltaire once wrote: “We cannot always oblige, but we can always speak obligingly.”

Trump sympathizers, show some tolerance. Many of you say you’re Christian; act like it. Love thy neighbor. Even if he prefers a different sexual partner than you do, bows to Mecca instead of Jerusalem, or speaks Spanish instead of English. They bleed and cry, hope and love, just like you do.

Show a little understanding, compassion even. And be open to new ideas and information, like global warming. Maybe those scientists are on to something.

And both of you, beware demonizing the perspective of “the other.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but you’re not the only one with truth and light. Like in couples therapy, maybe, just maybe, your spouse has a somewhat valid point of view as well.

It’s like the couple who comes in for marriage counseling and one partner says: “I’ve told you my side of the story, now let me tell you his.” Well, it doesn’t work that way. Incredible as this may sound, your partner’s view is not as wrong, weird, dumb, immoral, unhealthy or irrational as it may seem to you.

Pro-Trump and Anti-Trump people, read that last line again…and chew on it. It’s fundamental to preserving the union. Divorce is not an option.

So here’s your homework. Anti-Trump people, protest peacefully, and give the new guy a chance. If he messes up, call him on specific behavior rather than attack his overall personality, however tempting that may be.

Trump sympathizers, be patient. This is a huge loss for those on the other side. Grief takes time. Give them some. Don’t accept violence, but expect anger, and show some compassion and reassurance.

Also, both of you, don’t wait for the other guy to do all the work. You’ve got no control there. But you do have power to change half the equation — your half.

So if you Anti-Trump people are peaceful and give the new guy a chance, and you Trump supporters are patient and show some compassion, you up the odds of meeting in the middle. You might even learn from one another. As ye sow, so shall ye reap, remember?

And when you start to flip out, and you will, take two breaths and call me in the morning. Acting out in anger when you’re biochemically hijacked will not lead to domestic tranquility. Walk away or count to ten. As the ancient Chinese used to say: “Not the fastest horse can catch a word said in anger.”

Pray or meditate, exercise, and seek support from like-minded friends and family. Forming a more perfect union is not easy. Never was, never will be. It’ll take your best effort to be the kind of person you say you’d like to be. You can do it…this Thanksgiving and during the rest of the year as well. Your children and grandchildren are counting on you.

Steve Brody, Ph.D., is a psychologist in Cambria, co-author with his wife of Renew Your Marriage at Midlife, and a past president of the Division of Media Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Remember when Mr. Trump made a string of promises on his campaign trail, of which many voted for him because of said promises? Well, the Donald is acquiescing big time at the expense of his voters!

Trump LIE number 1

Hillary prosecution

Before: “Lock her up, lock her up” was one of the main rallying cries of Mr Trump’s supporters where they believed he would do what he promised in the last debate. During the debates, he told Mrs Clinton: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation……yada, yada, yada.”

After: The President-elect’s tone changed drastically as soon as he had won, describing the woman he had said was “such a nasty woman and a crook.” On November 22, Mr Trump’s spokeswoman said he would not pursue a further investigation to help Mrs Clinton “heal”. Kellyanne Conway also said that Mr Trump would back down from his pledge to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the former secretary of state. BACK DOWN ON A PROMISE?

TRUMP LIE number 2

Repealing Obamacare

Before: Another of Mr Trump’s hates was Obamacare which is widely hated by Republicans as well, where it was bantered about to “Repeal and Replace!” The end of Obamacare as it stands was to be done firsthand when in office.

After: Mr Trump had repeatedly promised to rid Obamacare but now he has reconsidered repealing the entire act after meeting with Mr Obama, telling CBS News that he wanted to keep the “strongest assets” of letting parents kids stay on it until they were 26 years old, and keeping the “Pre ‘Existing Conditions” clause, which is the strongest assets of Obamacare. Now, he is NOT repealing Obamacare!

TRUMP LIE number 3

‘The Wall’

Before: His vow to build a WALL along the US-Mexican border was one of the most controversial of Mr Trump’s campaign promises. Mr Trump also insisted that Mexico would pay for it!

After: Rudy Giuliani, one of his closest advisors, has said it will be built – even if he has to sign it through as an executive order as Mr Trump “isn’t going to break a campaign promise!” Now the “scheme” has been scaled back though Mr Trump has already admitted that some parts will be FENCED. One of his supporters tipped to be the next secretary of state, Newt Gingrich, told NPR the idea was just a device to get elected! “He may not spend much time trying to get Mexico to pay for it. But it was a great campaign device,” Mr Gingrich said. WHAT DID NEWTJUST SAY?!

Mr Trump’s website suggests he is still planning on making Mexico pay for the wall. The Mexicans, on the other hand, have made it quite clear they will not be paying and are still laughing at Mr. Trumps expense!

TRUMP LIE number 4

Ban on Muslims

Before: Mr Trump initially promised to ban all Muslims entering the US, but switched to “extreme vetting” after he became the party’s presidential candidate. In a campaign statement in of December 2015, he said a “total and complete” shutdown should remain until the US authorities “can figure out” Muslim attitudes to the US. In August 2016, he said he would enact “extreme vetting” of immigrants.

After: The immigration section of Mr Trump’s website makes no mention of this pledge! What happened? Instead, Mr Trump has replaced the policy with one suspending visas “to any place where adequate screening cannot occur, until proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place”. What happened to Mr. Trump’s promise on this issue?

TRUMP LIE number 5

Deporting ALL illegal immigrants

Before: Mr Trump repeatedly told his supporters that every single undocumented immigrant – of which there are approximately 11.3 million – “have to go, period, with no excuses whatsover!

After: As polling day approached, his stance began to soften. When he became elective president, he confirmed the plan had been scaled back, uh, somewhat, albeit to some two to three million deportations of people who “are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers”. What happened to his promise of deporting ALL undocumented immigrants?

TRUMP LIE number 6

Global warming

Before: Mr Trump, who has previously denounced climate change as a hoax, wants to cancel payments to UN climate change programs. He also wants to lift production limits on coal production and had indicated he would withdraw from the Paris agreement upon climate change

After: The president-elect has revealed he is taking a less strident view on climate change, and admitted he was looking into whether it might be man-made after all! Huh?

“I’m looking at it very closely… I have an open mind to it,” he told the New York Times! What happened to his promise?

This isn’t the first time Trump has changed his mind about climate change. In 2009, he was a co-signatory to an open letter to the government, urging it to strengthen its commitment to cutting emissions. What an irony, and stop laughing!

TRUMP LIE number 7


Before: Mr Trump said he would approve waterboarding “immediately” and “make it also much worse”, adding “torture works.”

After: Mr Trump told the New York Times he had been “surprised” when General James Mattis explained to him waterboarding was not as effective as other, non-torture methods. The answer “impressed” him, but has not completely convinced him torture should be dropped altogether. However, General Mattis is now being considered for secretary of defense.

TRUMP LIE number 7

Gay marriage

Before: Mr Trump promises to elect judges to the Supreme Court that would repeal the same-sex marriage legislation, saying the decision should be made state-by-state.

After: Now, Mr. Trump said the matter was “irrelevant because it was already settled” in the court. “It’s law. I mean it’s done,” he told 60 Minutes. Well, then using Mr. Trumps position, another law that has been settled since 1974 is Roe v. Wade, therefore, we can only expect that Donald will not want to overturn this established law as well.

Oh yeah, what ever happened to those “Jobs, jobs, jobs” that was the number one priority by Boener in the GOP 2012 campaign? Mr. Trump breaks the promises to his voters that got him elected in the first place, so what has changed for the GOP on their promises, NOTHING!

Lets see what other PROMISES Mr. Trump will be breaking in the near future at the expense of his voters. Can you say HYPOCRITICAL LIAR? Sure you can. Start the counting today!


Surprising that such a decent article found its way in CCN. That being said, as obscene as Trump and several of his recent appointments are, probably a good idea for Democrats and more than a few liberals not to try taking the moral high ground after supporting the likes of war criminals Obama and Clinton, who greatly expanded upon the crimes of their predecessors Reagan, Clinton and Cheney/Bush, as all US presidents are wont to do. Best to have empathy for Trump sympathizers and try to understand under what conditions and propaganda from the ruling elite would have made such an odious choice seem reasonable. Much the same goes for Clinton sympathizers as well. Rather than direct your sturm und drang towards them, probably be a better use of time and resources to direct it towards those who create such people in the first place, the Trump’s and Clinton’s of the world, and those who control them.

Trump isn’t really doing that much different than what Reagan did in appealing to the racists and white underclass who are drawn to fascist authoritarian types to lead them across their own personal Rubicon. My sense is that many of these will soon see that they have been following a false idol who has led them astray. While it could be argued that the Republican wing of the one party oligarchies policies and actions are usually the more obvious evil, it is the Democratic wing who is often the “More Effective Evil”,. It took a Nobel Peace Laureate, Constitutional scholar, Democratic president to get Democrats on board with crimes they would have protested under a GOP president. It’s the system, and until it is changed, who is elected/appointed POTUS matters little… obviously. Job #1 of all US presidents is to make the world safe for corrupt, crony, predatory capitalism while destroying all alternatives at every opportunity. Torture, assassinations, Killer Drones, invasions, support of brutal right wing regimes, illegal/immoral wars based on lies, all are standard US operating procedure. Fortunately, such a sick and twisted system simply isn’t sustainable, and will soon fall away in the dust bin of history, where it belongs.

So, as you gather on yet another phony holiday built upon the genocide of Native Peoples, which continues to this day, have understanding for how those who believe differently than you, came to their beliefs in the first place. Be well…

I find it a little difficult to be loving and forgiving to paid rioters who didn’t even vote in the first place, my understanding shuts down when I see a video of BLM protesters chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon” and “what do we want? Dead cops, when do we want it? Right now!” I have zero empathy for the Clinton and DNC lackeys who cheated Bernie Sanders and have now put up a anti-Semite up to be the leader of the DNC. For every act of violence on the Right there have been thousands from the Left, AND they’re being PAID to do it! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Well said

Does anyone remember when Obama was elected? I wore black for the past 8 years.

Now we can celebrate and wear bright happy colors!

Well said Mr. Brody! I am not overly optimistic that many people will take your advice and really try to apply it but if even a few do, it will be helpful.

Steve Brody states “a good therapist tells you what you need to know.” He then proceeds to advise the losers, the 63% who voted for Hillary in California, “the folks” who “can only swallow so much change”, push back in an “obliging” way.

Obliging to whom? Oh, to those Trump sympathizers, the winners in the National election?

Brody proceeds to instruct these winners, the 37% who voted for Trump, to “show some tolerance.” Why? “This is a huge loss for those on the other side” – the 63% that rode the wrong horse and are distraught as a result. I respectfully suggest no psychologist can correct this malady.

I think Brody’s advise to “”pray or meditate” should be directed at what has gone wrong in California because of the political dominance of the Democrats. Need I specify the obvious?

Everyone in my family and at my table voted for Trump…

Grateful for good health, choices and prosperity for all.

Who gives a thumbs down to good health, choices, and prosperity? I’ll give you a thumbs up Jorge to put you in the positive on that green thumb…Happy Thanksgiving