Ok, the election is over. Now what? This is a great time to consider what this country should become and it starts with you.
Roughly 120,000,000 people voted: Trump won the electoral race, Clinton the popular vote. Clearly, America is divided. What we do next, as “winners” and “losers”, can help heal this country, or drive it deeper into the abyss. And Americans share more interests than we think.
For Trump supporters: Here is a great chance to start the healing and rebuilding to make America greater. You have about 60,000,000 people who are devastated, sad, scared and disillusioned. They are not wrong. What do you do? The easy thing is to gloat and kick them when they’re down, but that’s unpatriotic. It’s un-American. Americans pick each other up after a defeat. They teach and learn from each other. They sympathize and, if possible, empathize with their fellow citizens. They move forward, leaving no one behind.
For Clinton supporters: It was not an evil conspiracy. There are about 60,000,000 people who felt disenfranchised, lied to, betrayed and threatened. They are not wrong. You have a choice: to work with the new president, or expend energy opposing everything. The current Congress chose the latter, angering many and stalling this country. Cooperating won’t be easy, which is why it must be done. You have four years to work this out and take the high road.
Some quick tips:
- When disagreements arise, let’s understand the situation and focus on substantive issues
- Abandon the personal attacks and superficial jabs.
- Restrain from saying, “you’re wrong”, because what you’re really saying is “I’m right” and “me being right is more important than whatever we’re talking about”
- Use “I” statements. “I feel this policy is bad because….”. Or, “I think the best course of action is…”
- Listen. This sounds easy, but it can be difficult. The goal is twofold: to understand what the other person is saying, and to signal to them that yes, you are listening. Reframing is a good way to accomplish this: “If I’m hearing you correctly, you’re saying….” It’s not repeating what they say, but putting it your own words. If they say, “no, that’s not what I said” then ask them to explain it
- Dialogue, not debate. Debate is used to determine a winner in an argument, not to find the truth or seek solutions. Dialogue is an effort to understand a situation and develop solutions. Again, this can be difficult, which is why it must be done
You may feel like you have won or lost the election. You didn’t. For a vast majority of us, we didn’t win or lose anything; we aren’t moving into the White House. On top of that, each candidate will forget about you soon, if not already. It’s up to you. It’s up to us. Take back the power politicians have used to manipulate us and how we treat each other. We all want the same things: security, family, health and shelter, but differ on how we attain them. Don’t let politicians and “elites” use these differences to drive us apart. That’s not the American way.
Cheers and Beers!OvalOptions is a conflict consulting organization dedicated to helping individuals, families and businesses find the most efficient and cost-effective means for dealing with disputes throughout the Denver Colorado Area