Don’t let that turkey get away from you — not even if it tries to turn the tables on you like this:

A cute little culture war in miniature, from long ago. Wonderful social commentary. (I might suggest that a better title might have been “Don’t Ax, Don’t Tell,” but the hell with politics!)

However, for those who find themselves drawn into political arguments against their better judgment, here are ten suggested rules:

1. Be open to the possibility that you’re wrong. Seriously.
2. Approach the conversation with the purpose of better understanding one another’s views, not proving to your relative that you are right and they are wrong.
3. Before you focus on any point of disagreement, ask questions of your interlocutor to figure out why they think the way they do about the subject at hand.
4. Emphasize points of agreement, if there are any.
5. Give them room to agree with your arguments without having to concede that their arguments are stupid, or feeling as if they’ve lost the exchange and you’ve won.
6. Rather than harping on a particular flaw in their preferred policy, ask questions that force them to confront it. “I agree, killing all the sharks would make it safer for surfers. But what about the creatures that sharks eat? How would you make sure their populations don’t explode? Seriously, how would you handle that?”
7. Don’t bother trying to score debating points, especially when you both know that’s all they are.
8. Remember that they know stuff that you don’t, just as you know stuff that they don’t.
9. Remember that lots of intelligent, good-hearted people share their position, and lots of dense jerks share your position, because that’s true of almost every position.
10. Listen more than you talk.

At the risk of sounding insensitive, it seems that the less I care, the easier it is for me to listen.

I’m grateful to be alive and to have friends, and they can disagree with me anytime they want.

And it also helps to keep in mind that the smarter you are, the stupider you are.