The Day After the Day After.
Those who read this blog regularly know that I don’t use it for personal expression very often: you open and read The Drift because it offers perspective on sales and our digital marketing world. The last time I broke that protocol was on September 12, 2001. And those of you who know me personally and politically know that I’m a proud Democrat who loves to talk issues. But if you’re expecting this post to be angry or bitter, please read on with an open mind.
I have very strong feelings about the election and – like many of you – questions and fears about what lies ahead of us. But for now I’d like to offer some perspective that I hope will be both helpful and unifying. If you feel so moved, comment and/or pass this post along to others.
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Our divisions are not new. Jefferson and Hamilton acolytes had their own newspapers with their own facts and truths. But our ability to use technology to hermetically seal ourselves inside a thought-bubble with those who think like we do… now that’s fairly new. Like many of you, my apps, social media, radio and cable choices walled me off from the eventual outcome of this election. Our higher calling in digital media and tech will be to find the center and connect rather than segregate.
We must stop profiling each other. I’m as horrified by nationalism, sexism, racism and xenophobia as anyone. But to tar everyone on the other side with those colors is to ignore an important fact: that fear and frustration and a sense of economic hopelessness also drove a lot of good people to make what many of us consider an unconscionable choice. A lot of those people may soon start to see things differently – indeed they may already – but every act of condescension and caricature only stokes the alienation and division.
Believe in our system. Secretary Clinton and President Obama set aside their anger and sadness yesterday and made gracious and generous commitments to the Constitution, the electoral process and the peaceful transfer of power. In the past 229 years our country has endured a lot of elections, movements, bad politicians and bad behavior. We are still here because our system of government self-corrects and renews. It will again.
Anger and fear are natural, but you can’t build with them. I believe in my heart — even now — that there’s an opportunity for new coalitions and connections to take root in our country. Yes, there will be demonstrations in the streets and there will be tone-deaf partisanship in Congress; those are natural parts of the political process. But I believe also that this moment and the months ahead of us may also push many of us away from the edges and back toward one another.
Now is the time for generosity. The divisive and controversial acts and worst behavior will garner the most coverage in the days ahead. But don’t get sucked in. If you want to feel better – about yourself and about your neighbors – take this time out to give something of yourself. Commit to caring for your employees or co-workers; give some of your time to a cause; stay in the moment and listen for true understanding, especially to someone you may not agree with.
I’m not a Pollyanna. But I do aim for the big picture and take the long view. We can’t hate our way out of this moment and we shouldn’t try. Instead, take inventory of your own character, actions and intent. If we do, we’ll all very soon reconnect with the energetic forward progress that we crave. I wish blessings and good things for you all. I value you as readers and friends. And I’m here for anyone who wants to communicate and get back on track. As they always said on Friday Night Lights, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”