If you’re reading this and you are American, congratulations! You made it through the first nine months of Trump’s presidency and are now facing your first Thanksgiving with him as president. Last year felt a little unbelievable – we all talked over turkey and stuffing about how Trump would be inaugurated in January, but at the time it hadn’t happened yet so we were able to continue on in our Obama-bubble. It was so warm and safe in there, wasn’t it?
A Trump Thanksgiving is going to be challenging, whether you have conservative relatives or not. Even us Democrats have trouble talking about Trump; he is the storm cloud over our happy gatherings, the car crash we just can’t look away from, and so he dominates all conversation. If you will be breaking bread with conservative relatives this year, I have compiled a short but sweet guide to the truths of the Trump presidency, complete with facts and sources that you are free to print out and put on the table in place of name placards.
More than anything, I want to make it extremely clear that to be apolitical is to use one’s privilege to the highest extent. My friend Alexandra said it best: “[I’ve] been thinking about this a lot as people discuss how to ‘get through’ the holidays. It is a privilege to be able to ‘just avoid politics,’ and therefore it’s our responsibility NOT to and to confront the issue[s] with those close to us.” While there is absolutely no need to get in a heated, expletive-laden shouting match at Thanksgiving dinner, there is also no need to avoid difficult topics altogether. We should absolutely confront racism, sexism, and xenophobia at the table this year; the best way to do so is to use credible, factual sources.
Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!
Statement #1: The fake news media says Trump lies all the time, but really, it’s the media that is misreporting what he says.
Potential Response: Donald Trump lies all the time, and he has so far “made 1,628 false or misleading claims.” This interactive diagram from the Washington Post takes you through every single false claim Trump has made since he became president, with sources and dates to back it up. For example:
Statement #2: Democrats just want to tax everyone; Republicans are cutting taxes for the middle class.
Potential Response: Luckily, Speaker of the House and Resident Spineless Jellyfish Paul Ryan has debunked this claim for himself, in this hilariously out-of-touch tweet:
$700 a year! Thanks, Paul Ryan. That will really help a lot. The Atlantic reports that the tax bill would also “reduce benefits for higher education by more than $60 billion in the next decade” with “sudden tax increases” and would “force schools to raise tuition at a time when higher education already feels unaffordable for many students.”
(More on the harm this bill will do to students here.)
To make matters worse, the tax bill makes huge cuts to healthcare and Medicaid – watch Senator Claire McCaskill call out Senator Orrin Hatch on the misleading claim that no cuts to Medicaid are in the bill.
Statement #3: America is the highest-taxed nation in the world!
Potential Response: Nope, wrong. Here’s a graph.
Additional Tax ‘Cuts’ and ‘Reform’ Information:
- MSNBC, the Associated Press, and the Tax Policy Center: “The policy center, a joint operation of the liberal-leaning Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, found that low-earners would generally get smaller tax breaks than higher-income people. In 2019, those making less than $25,000 would get an average $50 tax reduction, or 0.3 percent of their after-tax income. Middle-income earners would get average cuts of $850, while people making at least $746,000 would get average cuts of $34,000, or 2.2 percent of income.”
Statement #4: Police brutality isn’t real, and if someone is shot by a police officer, they must have deserved it.
Potential Response: In 2017 there have only been 10 days so far in which no one was killed by police. Mapping Police Violence outlines the frequency of police killings and states that black people are disproportionately killed by police: they are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people, and 30% of black victims were unarmed compared to 21% of white victims. Last but not least, levels of crime in cities have nothing to do with police brutality, contrary to what Trump says about Chicago.
Statement #5: Well, if more people were armed, we wouldn’t have as many mass shootings because the shooter could be stopped faster.
Potential Response: According to the Denver Post, during the Wal-Mart shooting in Denver, CO on November 1, “the chaos of panicked people running out of the store, shoppers who pulled their own guns and multiple victims created a difficult situation for police and slowed their investigation.”
Statement #6: Not all men are bad/predators/rapists/harassers/creeps/etc. Nice guys exist too!
Potential Response: Probably true! My dad is a nice guy, and is none of the above. But on average, men are more likely to commit sexual violence than women, and therefore men must be at the forefront of creating a solution to this widespread, endemic issue. Nice guys are great, but men in general have power and even nice guys have to participate in this conversation.
Statement #7: Feminism is about making women more powerful than men, hating men, and ignoring men’s issues.
Potential Response: Here’s the dictionary definition of feminism. And if you are afraid of women becoming more powerful than men, it’s because you’re afraid women will treat you the way men have treated us for centuries.