I rarely wade into the political arena for a variety of reasons:
- That’s not what my Monday Memo is about
- It brings the trolls out in droves
- I’m “conflict resistant” and don’t like arguing
- As important as political discourse is, lately it seem like it’s just plain “icky”
Having said that, elections have consequences and here we sit, almost one week out, with a new president-elect.
Half of the country is optimistic, the other half is despondent. One half feels that we have found our way back, while their counterparts fear for the future. No matter how you cut it, the country is laid raw, exposed, split half and half. (I will not state who I voted for so don’t ask – and that’s not what today’s comments are about anyway.)
The question is, “What do WE do NOW?”
Some on the victorious side of the election shout, “We won! Get over it!” while many on the opposite side are protesting with chants such as “Not my president.” Although it might not seem like it at first glance, but these are the opening of lines of communication. Granted, it’s not a warm and fuzzy channel, but both sides are speaking – and while not necessarily trying to speak with each other, they’re being heard.
The way I see it, there are some realities that need to be addressed:
- Barring some sort of seismic political earthquake, love it or hate it, Mr. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States come January 20, 2017
- No matter what happens, there will continue to be detractors and supporters of his presidency
- Neither side will “vanish” nor be silenced
- Both sides will continue to work for their agendas
- Neither side will simply “give up”
Accepting those, as we begin this new era, the first question we must all ask of ourselves is “What is MY intention for the future as we move forward?”
Without intention, we are rudderless, adrift.
For example, if the intention is “Let’s block everything that President Trump does,” the resultant communication – and its actions – will lead us down one path. If our intention is, “Show the ‘losers’ whose in charge now,” that will also have repercussions. However, if the intention is, “Let’s find a way to agree on what we can while politically fighting that where we don’t,” other options will make themselves known.
It’s certainly not a guarantee of success; but lack of intention is surely a guarantee for more conflict for decades to come.
We’re all (hopefully) going to be here for quite some time. Neither side will eradicate the other. Aiming to push, shove, or bully those with whom we might disagree will only prolong this chasm we see between us. Worse yet, there are real-life implications: millions and millions or our fellow human beings (both within and outside of the U.S.) will be hurt, further expanding the divide, making it yet harder to heal (which I assume is a goal of most).
I believe in “compassion first.”
Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean “give in,” but it does mean that first and foremost, I will treat each and every person neither as my superior nor inferior. I will strive in all my communication with those with whom I disagree, to lay a bedrock of respect, seeking first to understand the motives without judgment. I’m not fooling myself (I hope) I know it won’t always be easy, but – to me – it’s the only path forward.
I hope you’ll join me.