By Ian Swanson - 11-27-14 06:00 AM EST
Everyone loves Thanksgiving.
Family members get to see each other for the first time in a while. There's a lot to eat, a televised parade and plenty of football to watch. But there's always a danger that a political discussion will break out — and turn into a heated debate.
Here are five political issues to avoid on Thanksgiving.
The decision by a grand jury to not indict a white police officer of the killing of a black teenager has set off rioting in Ferguson, Mo. and demonstrations across the country. The crisis has raised deep questions about race, class and the U.S. justice system that have been debated for decades.
The decision and the demonstrations lit up Twitter and Facebook this week, and it seems like everyone has a strong opinion. That means you are probably not going to change Uncle Bob’s mind with your analysis.
Did President Obama go too far? Not far enough? Is it amnesty? Should the president be impeached?
These debates are best left for talk radio and on the House and Senate floors. But if the argument starts, remember: The Detroit Lions are playing the Chicago Bears at 12:30. Ask if there's a television in the bedroom.
3. Gay marriage
Gay marriage has come a long way politically — so long that the Supreme Court doesn't even want to go near it. Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers have endorsed gay marriage.
Verbal battles on gay marriage are less likely to come up than a decade ago. And more same-sex couples will be gathering with relatives around the table.
A Gallup poll in May found 55 percent of people surveyed support same-sex message, highlighting the shift. (They include President Obama, who “evolved” into a gay marriage supporter a couple of years ago).
Still, the Gallup poll found 42 percent of those surveyed don't think gay marriages should be recognized as legally valid. So there is still plenty of disagreement on the topic.
It all comes down to Obama in the end.
The president remains a divisive leader, and he keeps doing things that some people in your family think are unconstitutional. Other people in your family like Obama, Obama's phone and Obama's pen.
A discussion on whether Obama is the best or worst president in history really won't settle anything. And don't even think about broaching ObamaCare.
5. Hillary Clinton and the 2016 presidential election
There are more than 60 prominent people who are thinking about running for president. Undoubtedly, some people have already picked their favorites, ranging from Hillary Clinton to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Clinton is beloved by many on the left and despised by many on the right. So any debate about her at the dinner table could get ugly. And remember, there's more than 700 days — and three more Thanksgivings after this one — until the 2016 election. That discussion can wait a while.