I must admit that I am bewildered and distressed. Never before have I seen our nation so divided following a presidential election. I feel very guilty, too. Perhaps I was blindsided by living in my own little bubble of people who think similarly to me. And, that contributed to my ignorance of the viewpoints of millions of Americans who have an equally valid political perspective regarding what this country needs. I, like many of my fellow Americans, am dealing with a broken heart. We live in a great country, but I am sad to confess that I didn’t know how disenchanted and angry so many of my fellow Americans are and have been. Perhaps I didn’t have my ear to the ground. Yes, Trump won, which was a surprise. However, even more importantly, we have many disenchanted and disenfranchised among us, and we must find a way to improve the morale of our neighbors, co-workers, friends, etc. Obviously, we need tools to come together as a country following this most polarizing election.
I will humbly try to do the best that I can to suggest ways to begin to mend very broken down fences.
- We must listen to each other and not just to the opinions of those within our socio-economic groups and inner circles of friends. We must push beyond our boundaries and speak to the people who don’t share our political beliefs and who are outside of our inner circles. Perhaps we behave in an isolated and insular fashion, and this is akin to a clique mentality which has never served anyone well.
- We must all become aware that there is tension between the working class of this country and the professional elite. Those who have specific education to work in certain professions are by no means superior to the blue collar workers who are working in manual or industrial jobs. It takes all of us to make this country work. There is no room for elitism. And, if you as a professional feel superior to blue collar workers, then you need to re-examine your values. We all require each other’s services. There is no room for being condescending, smug or arrogant. Some of us have extraordinary opportunities and others either lack the opportunity or choose not to go down this path. The corollary, of course, is that blue collar workers must understand that professionals were not all born with silver spoons in their mouths, but instead worked extremely hard to achieve their passions and their goals. They do not necessarily deserve to be seen as unfairly born into privilege. We will only understand these things about each other if we talk across the class culture divide and see each other as human beings rather than as completely separate groups.
- We MUST listen to each other. There is merit in all kind of opinions. And, let me tell you that it is especially hard to move from one social class to another during this lifetime. You never quite know where you belong. On the other hand, you have an advantage because in your travels across groups, you learn to understand a larger number of your fellow citizens. This is invaluable. We need to listen very carefully to individuals who have experiences across the divide.
- We have no choice at this point but to put aside our rage, disappointment and feelings of betrayal and to start talking to one another and coming together as a united country. There is nothing virtuous about intolerance, disdain and teaching our kids about hatred. We must move forward, not backwards. We all have value and must acknowledge that. There is no other choice.
- Finally, we all need to become more politically active not only before our major elections but as an integral part of our daily lives. We need to be proactive rather than reactive. Let’s get to know each other and listen to each other’s news stations and read each other’s preferred newspapers. We must find common ground. After all, I still believe in the inherent goodness of the human condition despite the state of the country at the moment.