In last week’s
I said that I’d be back to you shortly after the election. Here I am with this
We are now five days post-election—five days of adjusting to the idea of “President Trump.” For many of you (and for me as well), that’s a darn difficult adjustment.
Still, we live in a democracy. We will have him and the people he’ll put in power for the next four years. We do need to give our new president a chance; it’s the right thing to do.
The Great Divide
The Election of 2016 has made clear that there are two Americas, two different and distinct places.
One of those places—which I call “Traditional America”—grasps for the old and is uncomfortable with change and those who are “different” from “us.” This America’s vision is focused on looking in the rearview mirror, at a landscape that we left long ago.
The other place—“Inclusive America”—wants to drive full speed into new landscape; it’s made of people with skin colors, religions and ethnicities that show up in greater numbers and in new areas. Inclusive America is younger, more open, and poorer (including due to educational debt) than Traditional America.
Between the two Americas is a great, deep divide. The common denominator of that divide is
: fear of being left behind; fear of not being heard; fear of losing what’s been gained; fear being pushed out; and fear of never being able to achieve what each person knows is possible.
The only way to bridge that divide is to
Both Americas need to talk to each other; they need to sit in rooms and get to know each other. Most importantly, both Americas need leaders (political, social, educational) who are willing to extend a hand to each America with a message of unity and healing until The Great Divide ceases to exist.
The Trump Speed Bump
Every once in a while, we hit a speed bump. Sometimes the bump is a health issue; other times, it’s a lost job or lost love. Or, it might even be a bout of bad, bad depression.
For many, Donald Trump is a huge speed bump. He’s someone we need to keep in sight and be well aware of; someone we’ll have to carefully navigate; and someone who has the potential to permanently damage things if we’re careless.
Each of us is figuring out our own personal approach to the Trump speed bump. Please let me share my approach (which remains a work in progress):
First, I’m thankful for timing. I’ll be leaving my nonprofit job at year end and will be free to totally devote myself to training and consulting on diversity and inclusion, educational work that will be much needed in the coming months. This includes work through The C* Project, where I will go to Red and Blue states and counties to talk about The Great Divide and the need to be more welcoming and inclusive. Now that project will also include community listening sessions.
Second, in addition to educating, I’m adding an item to my menu (this is why my company is named Human Inspiration
, LLC): straight-up, bold-faced soap box advocacy. My message: as a country, we need to get to know each other—we’ve become estranged and feel as if we don’t matter. I’ll be climbing down into The Great Divide, where I’ll talk of our common humanity and the need for greater compassion and understanding.
hird, I’m doubling down on grit and resiliency. This will be a long and difficult endeavor, and I’ll do what’s necessary to nourish and sustain me. That means, in part, reading again and again, Dr. King’s
Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
ast: I. Will. Not. Allow. Humans. To. Be. Marginalized.
What You Can Do
You too, need to double down on grit and take care of yourself as we go forward. Make sure you hug those you love, that you voice words of compassion to all, and that you seek out whomever (lay or professional) you need to talk to. All of this is critical. We can’t get to the finish line if you’re not healthy enough to play in the game.
Additionally, I offer three suggestions for going forward:
- Make sure your employer, place of worship, and educational constituency publicly reaffirm that they are inclusive, welcoming, and protecting. People need to feel safe and wanted.
- Work to end your personal “we” against “them” mindset, something which this horrible presidential campaign instilled in all of us. Be mindful of when you’re falling into that mindset. Be aware of how fear drives you and everyone else. If need be, contact me and we can talk about my inclusivity toolset, Gray Area Thinking™.
- Offer me up. Okay, that sounds so egotistical, but for the past three years, I’ve found that being humble and patiently waiting in the background to be recognized haven’t really worked. I have a message—some would say a fairly unique and compelling message because of who/what I am—about compassion, inclusivity, and living life from the heart. Please, suggest me for education (training on inclusivity and welcoming) and/or for soapbox advocacy (for how we need to bridge The Great Divide to work for just one America). I’ve had enough people tell me that I inspire them to now actually believe that yes, I can do that. And, if nothing else, what we need now more than anything is inspiration. (Here are the links to me and my company.)
This Special Edition has been long-winded, but present circumstances call for more than just a few words.
It has been a long, long slog and unfortunately, it’s not over; rather, it’s just beginning. Still, I so believe in the power of the human spirit. All of you reading this have the tenacity to remember that collectively, we are a wonderful nation of people who really just want to live in peace. As I often say, 99 percent of us want to do the right thing—we just often don’t know what that right thing is.
Talking. Sharing. Respectful communicating. Laughing. Crying. Reflecting. Taking risks to connect with new people. Understanding the difference between innocence and bad intent. Knowing when fear—and not one’s heart—is doing the talking.
Those are the right things. Let’s get on with the hard work of doing all of that.
We must do this together, as one America. As the America we all love.
I care about you.