I have this really bad personality defect. Well, there are many, but this one\u2019s so obvious I probably should do something about it. Counseling. Reprogramming. Mortification. It troubles my family members and friends because I keep what was known in the olden days as \u201cbad company.\u201d You see, I consort with liberals and conservatives ... even though it\u2019s not always easy and nowadays it\u2019s practically verboten. Quite honestly, it would be easier to pick a side and just delete half of my address book, but I can\u2019t do that because you never know when I might need some good legal advice from my liberal lawyer or a good colonoscopy from my conservative gastroenterologist. As Thomas Paine once said, \u201cThese are the times that try men\u2019s, and women\u2019s, souls.\u201d My standing rule is I don\u2019t talk politics, but that doesn\u2019t stop any of them from rambling on and on about the border crisis ... sorry, bad choice of words. My Democratic friends have banned that word, although my Republican friends love it. I meant the \u201cborder situation.\u201d When they persist, I go into self-distraction mode, which I learned from Yoda or Spock (the Vulcan, not the pediatrician). This means I tune them out and start thinking about something pleasant. For example, instead of images of Joe Biden\u2019s press conference, I substitute images of, say, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Voila, problem solved. It\u2019s quite simple and very effective, and it has preserved countless friendships. You should try it. I guarantee there will be fewer fistfights at Thanksgiving dinner, if we\u2019re ever allowed to have family gatherings again. Growing up, we had all kinds of radicals and reactionaries around the dinner table, and the debates were relentless. I get a headache just thinking about them. Being Italian, we were prone to yelling and using expressive hand gestures that often came perilously close to turning into fisticuffs. But no matter how intense the discussion became, we forgot our differences by the time the meal was over. My mother\u2019s veal parmigiana and homemade wine worked like a sedative on the most loud-mouthed activists. Politics can\u2019t compare to a good Italian meal. Times have changed. For example, my father never harbored any grudges over political differences, so if I ever said, \u201cWhy are we taking Uncle Tony to the hospital for his cancer treatment \u2014 he\u2019s a Republican,\u201d I would have felt my father\u2019s Democratic hand across the back of my head. Those days are gone. Hatred has taken over. Always remember this: Politicians come and go, but friends and family are forever. A fellow I know told me that one place where politics doesn\u2019t interfere with his friendships is on the golf course. He plays with guys of both political persuasions, and their views on the $3 trillion national debt don\u2019t get in the way of the game. I wanted to suggest it\u2019s time they included a woman in that foursome \u2014 another bad choice of words \u2014 but I didn\u2019t want to trigger him. The older I get, the fewer friends I have, and I don\u2019t want to lose any more because of politics. I probably should shut up now and turn my attention to something more productive like the Swimsuit Edition, but instead I\u2019ll keep digging my own grave, as my mother used to say. This brings me to my final point. My father wasn\u2019t college educated. He was a simple carpenter named Joseph \u2014 not that one \u2014 who made our lives a living hell with his drinking. However, at 50 he found Alcoholics Anonymous and lived his last 25 years sober, making amends for all the misery he caused during the previous 35. In the last part of his life, he became quite the philosopher, a regular Socrates at the dinner table, and he would say things I thought were absolutely simple-minded, until I got older and realized how profound they were. They were AA sayings like \u201cDon\u2019t pick up the first drink\u201d and \u201cTake your own inventory\u201d and one of my favorites, \u201cLive and let live.\u201d In some ways, AA meetings are like that golf course. No one argues about politics at an AA meeting because they have more important things to discuss, like sobriety and their Higher Power. There\u2019s a lesson here for all of us, alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike. In the immortal words of whoever it was, let\u2019s live and let live. Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.