National View: Here's what 'not' to talk about during Thanksgiving
We are at that interesting time of year when we gather together at Thanksgiving feasts with friends and family members we may not see all that often.
Around many tables there is a great probability that turkey legs will be thrown, gravy bowls overturned, monkey bread flung in all directions, and pie smeared on the walls.
Here are some well-meant suggestions on what not to discuss this year so we can peacefully celebrate this lovely holiday.
Don't mention Donald Trump's astonishing assertion he believes Vladimir Putin's impassioned denial that Russia meddled in our 2016 U.S. election. Mum on Trump's dismissal of America's intelligence leaders who agreed 100 percent on Russian interference as "political hacks."
Don't fixate on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' astonishing lack of recall about eight people he worked with during Trump's campaign when the subject was Russia or his bafflement on how many meetings he had with Russians. Don't mention it's "breaking news" when our top law enforcement official vows under oath he always tells the truth except when he can't remember it.
Say nothing about the Department of Justice's failure to do anything to ensure there will be no more Russian meddling in U.S. elections. Nor has any administration official taken this on.
Skip Trump's decision to try to throw the full weight of the Justice Department at Hillary Clinton about such things as uranium deals she had nothing to do with. (Somebody will point out that only in banana republics do the powerful pursue political opponents with pointless vendettas.)
It might be advisable to avoid the topic of sexual harassment, assault and misogyny in Hollywood, the pulpit, the White House, sports, Congress, the media, and anywhere else men and women gather or work together.
Unless you and your guests are very rich ($1 million a year and above), do not parse the various tax plans in Congress, especially if you live in a state where taxes are high, mortgages are through the roof, and children are plentiful. Seriously. We're talking indigestion here.
And, speaking of throwing up, don't — do not — talk about a grown assistant district attorney fondling a 14-year-old child. (The gun-toting deviant who spouts religious hypocrisy, was twice removed as a judge for breaking the law and still wants to be in the Senate.)
You may discuss medical milestones (new babies, hip replacements, and the removals of tonsils are particularly good), but do not talk about how they were or were not paid for or insurance of any sort.
By all means, marvel at the new patch of highway on the way to Grandma's house or moan about how bad traffic has gotten. But stay away from the word "infrastructure." Everyone will just start pouring way too much wine.
If you already have exhausted the topic of the weather (oops, no climate change monologues and presumably you started the meal with prayers for struggling, forgotten, electricity-less Puerto Rico) and college football (avoid the NFL) and you really, absolutely, must talk politics, here is a list of suggestions.
Trump's remarkable hairstyle with speculation on how it's kept that way. (The last piece of pie goes to the person with the best color description.)
Trump's remarkable architectured wardrobe. Fun party game: how many rolls of tape does he use to keep that tie in place.) (Answer: Only the Secret Service knows. And they're not telling. Yet.)
Isn't it nice that we never hear about the youngest Trump son?
How many closets do Melania's clothes fill and does she ever donate to Goodwill? Also, will the clear tensions between daughter Ivanka and third-wife Melania surface at the Trumps' Thanksgiving table?
What does Vice President Mike Pence do besides flatter the president, fund-raise, stalk out of NFL games when he sees kneelers (please, only in church), and praise the president? (Pence almost ruined Indiana but has become so vapid he scoots from one day to another without notice; he's a safe if dull topic.)
If worse comes to the worst, let Drunk Uncle ramble on about his new scheme to make money and encourage the twins to recite their parts from the first-grade play. Of course, there's always religion.
Or you could just keep your mouth full, with gratitude for your blessings and thankfulness that Thanksgiving comes but once a year.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. She can be reached at email@example.com.