To help keep the peace with her in-laws during holidays, Julia Smith adopted a rule several years ago about talking politics: Don't do it, and don't take the bait if anyone starts in.
Her relationship with her father-in-law in particular had always been fraught with tension, said Smith, who asked that her name be changed to preserve family relations. She was the "screaming liberal from New York" who'd corrupted his Texas-bred son into moving to "Taxachusetts" and voting Democrat. As far as she was concerned, he was a good ol' boy who didn't like to talk politics as much as preach his views.
Her resolve was put to the test three years ago at Thanksgiving dinner, right after Barack Obama was elected president. She was picking at her turkey when, she says, her father-in-law suggested an act of violence toward Obama.
She attempted to keep cool by gathering her children and leaving the table. But then he repeated it at dessert.
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