Before we try to mend fences with those friends and relatives from whom we've been estranged these many months, some rules need to be established.
These rules are hard, fast and non-negotiable. Without them, we risk returning to chaos.
First and most obvious of all, politics will not be discussed in any way, shape or form and under no circumstance whatsoever. It will not be discussed in any context or under any pretext.
This will be tough, just about everything is political. Even things that shouldn't be.
Toward that end, we've compiled the list below containing subjects that should be avoided (WARNING: THE LIST IS ALMOST CERTAINLY INCOMPLETE):
1. Abortion, birth control or Planned Parenthood.
2. Guns, gun control, mass shootings, bump stocks, hi capacity magazines, background checks.
3. Hurricanes, forest fires, snow storms, hot weather, cold weather or anything remotely related to weather or rising tides, dying coral reefs or melting glaciers.
4. Homosexuals, hair stylists, Lesbians or Jeffrey Tambor.
5. Russia, Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon, George Pappadopoulos or Jared Kushner
6. Winter Olympics, South Korea, North Korea or China.
7. Mexico, Mexicans, dreamers, border security, the wall or El Salvador.
8. Terrorism, ISIS, Syria, Puerto Rico, FEMA.
9. Meryl Streep, Jake Tapper, CNN, Oprah.
10. Football (neither the NFL kind or the one carried in the briefcase), nuclear weapons.
11. Pollution of any kind (air, water, Earth).
12. Consumer protection, health care, taxes, Social Security or Medicaid.
13. Race, racism, black people, Jews, Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, immigrants or immigration.
Things that might be safe to discuss (No guarantees):
1. Music: Beethoven, Beach Boys and Elvis. Steer clear of Barbara Streisand, Madonna, Shakira, REM, Neil Young, Cher, Miley Cyrus and Bruce Springsteen.
3. Valentine's Day.
4. St Patrick's Day.
5. March Madness.
Armed with these guidelines, we should look for things we can do not so much together, but in parallel.
Skiing is a good one, if you know someone of comparable alpine ability. Fresh air, beautiful scenery and the exhilaration of careening down the slopes together can be a great way to reconnect.
It would probably work best if you took separate chair lifts back up the hill.
Go see the new Star Wars movie in 3D. It's not the best installment of the franchise, but it is entertaining and the 3D glasses provide an added dimension of distraction.
It would be best to arrive separately and meet at the theater right as the coming attractions begin.
Bicycle riding is a healthy activity and can offer some common ground to reestablish old relationships. Try to stay in single file and keep the volume on your ipods loud enough to make conversation impossible, but not so loud that you won't hear car horns.
It's time to begin the healing process. America was once a place where diversity thrived and political discourse was a birthright, not an act of war.
Somewhere along the line, we got derailed. It started slowly, as things do but the train wreck was inevitable. Now it's a matter of getting the train back on the track.
Better minds than mine can probably suggest a path to escape the current morass. It may be as simple as shutting down just one twitter feed.
Maybe we really can make America great again. #Oprah2020
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