You made it through Thanksgiving without a family political spat (Or maybe they didn’t.) Still, the holidays aren’t over yet. There’s at least one more family dinner before the New Year.
This time, tensions surrounding presidential impeachment has made political discussions that much more tense. In fact, we’d venture “impeachment” is the only word on everyone’s lips.
Let us assure you, keeping it away from your dinner table is a surefire way to also keep the peace. Set your family rules before Christmas to keep the peace and keep law enforcement from having to intervene.
Texas House Rules for Holiday Gatherings
Every family is different. Some can enjoy a civil debate with relatives on “the wrong side of history.” Others let things escalate until there is shouting.
Your family may not need to set extreme rules about having political conversations, but consider setting just a few before the big dinner.
Here are three of the most simple — and helpful — holiday house rules across Texas…
Rule #1: No Political Talk at Your Holiday Table (or Anywhere Else)
Texas has a long political history and a fierce sense of heritage. Not to mention we sure are a proud bunch. Some of us love to talk politics, and others simply like to poke fun.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we do have our Texans who actually love to avoid people who love to talk politics altogether. We certainly run the gamut.
Let’s do ourselves a favor and savor our time together while we’re all stuck at the same table. No politics at all. This rule is a win-win for everybody.
Rule #2: No Sneaking Snarky Comments on our Attire, No Carving Them into Pies
Instead of bringing up political discussions, the more mischievous among you may try to sneak in their political views, say with a certain red hat..or perhaps a pie that reads “RESIST.”
Tell them all to those items at home, or they’ll be removed before they cause a ruckus. Stick to your guns on this one, friends. If someone makes a snarky comment about “snowflakes,” millennials, or any other collective group, let them know they’ll be asked to remove themselves, too.
Rule #3: Invitation Only…by the Host
If you’re hosting Christmas dinner this year, you’re in charge of the guest list. Maybe that means only inviting people who have a record of civilly discussing politics (or not discussing it at all.) That is okay.
Just let everyone on the guest list know about your political policies this year and ask that they run any plus-ones by you for approval. Remember, your house, your rules.
So why do we so strongly suggest asking the family to leave their politics at the door this year? Well, in our experience, when political discussions go awry over the holidays, holiday diners wind up becoming our clients.
Rogue Political Discussions Risk TX Family Violence Charges
These rules might seem harsh, especially when it means banishing someone from the table or from your house, but we imagine a visit from law enforcement on Christmas and arresting someone for family violence isn’t the forever memory you were hoping to make.
This can sound extreme, but the fact of the matter is (especially in today’s political climate) it happens. Even if your family isn’t one to throw punches over impeachment, the aggression you do display may fall under the umbrella of relationship violence.
What Constitutes Family Violence in Texas?
In addition to hitting or strangling, relationship violence encompasses:
- Using size or presence as intimidation
- Using objects to threaten others
- Verbal abuse
- Emotional abuse
Let’s say things get so heated at the dinner table that your grandpa picks up his glass and throws it across the room. Or your uncle punches a hole in your drywall. We’re pretty sure someone in your life won’t hesitate to make that call.
If law enforcement officers show up to find shaken family members and broken glass, they’re likely to bring someone back to the station with them.
Texas Law Enforcement Takes Family Violence Allegations Seriously
Law enforcement officers may take no chances, but this keeps everyone safe. Family violence kills at least 100 women each year in the state of Texas alone.
Hundreds more are subject to beatings and live in constant fear of imminent harm. Their children may be subject to neglect, abuse, and a lifetime of trauma.
Law enforcement officers who take action in a truly violent situation are coming from the perspective of saving someone’s life. Sometimes, though, arrests are based on a misunderstanding.
Ultimately, a family violence conviction can result in jail time, fines, and loss of rights. Learn more about these charges and penalties to prevent lifelong consequences.
When your Texas house rules, aren’t followed, however, if a family member winds up facing charges, reach out to an experienced Texas family violence defense attorney quick!
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.