I have had many holidays and visits, a couple camping trips, and one Caribbean vacation with family tarnished if not ruined, due to political arguments. Unfortunately, I am often the lone conservative when the gathering is of my mother and my siblings and their families. My father was a conservative but he has been deceased for many years now. I have one brother who is conservative, but he seldom attends family gatherings. My mother transitioned from being conservative to liberal over the last twenty or so years. She is not hard left and is still conservative on some social and cultural issues, however, she is liberal on most things. She voted for Obama twice.
A few years ago, I was having Thanksgiving at the home of one of my sisters and we went around the table saying what we were thankful for and a friend of my sister's who was at this dinner said she was thankful Obama had been elected President. I bristled inside but did not respond with something equally partisan for which to be thankful. Over the years, I have learned I have to do a lot of bristling inside or speak up and cause unpleasantness.
For the most part my family and I have learned to avoid unpleasantness by avoiding serious discussions. This works well in one-on-one situations or small groups. We can enjoy each others company and avoid anything of a controversial nature. Being in the minority however, when the ratio is more like 12-to-one rather than one-on-one or five-to-one, my family members are less inclined to govern expressions of their liberal sentiment. I understand. They mostly agree on foreign policy, the welfare state, environmentalism, social issues, and any other number of topics. They want to discuss the issues of the day. In a large group it is harder to avoid talking about sensitive and important topics than it is in a small group. Even what they find humorous and not intended to be offensive, or in discussing movies or books, they reveal their liberal world view and I can either stifle my dissenting view or speak up and cause awkwardness or unpleasantness.
I have more and more learned to stifle, but that is not fun. I also think that I have gotten better at disagreeing without being disagreeable. I hope I have. Still, being the lone conservative in a house full of liberals is just not fun, even when you love them. One way I cope is by not staying long. I can go to dinner and stay for a couple hours and that is fine, but a full weekend of family and the more likely it is that their will be conflict. I can only bottle it up and be on my best behavior for so long. I love my family but I would not want to spend a week at the beech with them all in the same house. I don't want to stifle and bristle inside for that long.
Gun control is an issue about which the country is deeply divided. Rather than bring it up, wouldn't it be better if families could spend good time together this holiday season without getting into a political argument?