These examples are best-case scenarios, of course. We readily acknowledge that talk of politics during Thanksgiving has become a tradition almost as strong as watching football. If it’s not possible to avoid these discussions, try framing the issues differently. Almost every issue before our legislative bodies is presented as a battleground. Rather than matching that state of mind, you can suggest that tough topics be approached instead as a joint cooperative effort. Instead of fighting, Arlie Hochschilde, professor emerita at the University of California at Berkeley and one of the creators of "the sociology of emotion," points out that many of us build “empathy walls” that divide us. She recommends that we disengage our internal "alarm systems” and listen to each other's "deep stories" — the narratives behind our attitudes and beliefs. Ask them about their childhood, or powerful experiences that shaped them.