The last marathon I ran was in Sacramento, and the last mile felt harder, slower, and longer than the first 25.1. It reminds me of this never-ending race. Wednesday, when it’s over, the question will be: How will Trump or Clinton help us heal?
Since it’s a democracy, I’d ask: How will each of us help the country heal?
I have three simple suggestions for me and you, if we don’t want to do this again in 4 years:
- Ask serious questions about inclusion. Many Trump followers feel left behind. Many Clinton followers feel marginalized. This has been a campaign that has spoken — however inelegantly — to those who feel they are not being heard. Whether the marginalized are “non-college educated white men” or belong to racial, religious or other tribes, they are our citizens. They are our co-workers, our customers, our service providers. Forget Trump and Clinton for a minute: Do you and I hear and include them as legitimate members of this country, with legitimate economic and political concerns?
- Generate civility as part of the center. As long as we tolerate — and ourselves create – incivility, it will be inflicted upon us. How’s your dialogue? Is it fair? When “they go down do you go up?” Tomorrow’s your last day of this campaign. Will you close on a positive, civil note?
- Become more fact-based. My friends Kent and Carol don’t argue facts any more. They bet a dollar and turn to Google to resolve it. Isn’t it crazy that in this time when facts are more available than ever, ignorance (I’m very much including myself in this) runs so high. One candidate has had their “fact checking” show falsehoods approximately 15-20% of the time; the other has had approximately 70% of their claims tested as false. We have the resources to learn – whether about partial birth abortion or global warming, about health care costs or crimes by undocumented people. If politicians of whatever stripe can get away with deception . . . shame on us. That means turn off Fox and MSNBC “experts” who promise to think for you. Google to the rescue. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say that the two presidential candidates have dumbed things down, but the real question is: Have we gotten smarter?
There are certainly major systemic issues for us, like too much money in politics, the role of social media, and the disappearance of a trusted media (media: Latin: middle). No Walter Cronkite. No one reading Time magazine. Etc. Yet, there are a few key things we can all do so that in our democracy, we
Lead with our best selves.