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Lifestyle

November 21, 2012

Turkey, pie and politics? T-Day family friction

Ah, Thanksgiving. A little turkey, some cranberry mold, maybe apple pie with ice cream, some football on TV. Getting together with the cousins. Catching up beside the fire. Togetherness.

On second thought: Scratch that. What were we thinking? This was an election year.

“The Thanksgiving table will be a battleground,” says Andrew Marshall, 34, of Quincy, Mass.

Like many extended families across the country, Marshall’s includes Democrats and Republicans, conservatives, liberals and independents. And so, like many families that count both red and blue voters in their ranks, they’re expecting fireworks. Things had already gotten so bad on Facebook, the family had to ban political banter.

“It was getting brutal,” says Marshall.

And now, it will all play out in person. In this family, the older generation is more liberal, the younger more conservative. So Andrew, a conservative, particularly expects friction with his aunt, Anne Brennan, 57. “She firmly believes in what she believes in, and we’ll go head to head with it,” he says.

But the Marshalls seem to be relishing the occasion. Not so the Davidson family in Alabama.

In fact, things have gotten so tense over politics between Brian Davidson, a 40-year-old attorney in Helena, and his father, 130 miles away in Russellville, that they’ve changed plans, forgoing their usual gathering.

“We’re not even going,” says Brian, who voted for Barack Obama, and describes his father as “a little to the right of Glenn Beck.” Better to skip this one, he says, than suffer “a non-recoverable blowup.”

Davidson, a Boy Scout leader and the father of two school-age sons, once was firmly conservative, even serving as an officer in the Young Republicans Club at the University of North Alabama. His parents — particularly Dad — always taught him and his brother to think for themselves, he says.

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