DEAR MISS MANNERS: Some close family members of mine have become strident in their political views to the point that politics is all they ever talk about. I find it tiring to listen to nothing but regurgitated cable news sound bites from them. However, they are rather thin-skinned about any criticisms of their viewpoints, no matter how ridiculous.
These relatives use all types of media to do this: email, telephone, web links, etc.
What is the best way to distract and redirect them -- politely, so as not to cause a small nuclear war?
GENTLE READER: It’s not a conversation, nor a correspondence, unless you respond. When a rant is finished, which happens faster if it is greeted by silence, it will be your turn to start a new conversation about other, more pleasant topics. To apply a polite veneer, you could open with, “There is so much that’s awful in the news at the moment that we find ourselves wanting to talk to family about anything else. How is Aunt Ginny’s new ferret?”