It’s the day after the most contentious US presidential election that I can remember. Donald Trump has been elected our president. Social media is running rampant with people on both sides criticizing one another for their views and votes.
As long as I have been a business consultant, I have advised my small business clients to keep their political affiliations to themselves. I had seen so many people lose clients after being vocal about their opinions. I myself had decided not to work with certain people who were strident in their views that differed with mine. I was very much on the side of “never discuss politics or religion” in business dealings, at the very least.
On the other side, I’ve heard people say that it is important to discuss their views and, if they lose business as a result, so be it. They do not take this as a loss, stating they wouldn’t want to work with someone like that anyway and that they prefer to attract a client base that shares their values and perspectives.
Is there a middle ground?
I’d guess that about half of the people who are important to me and who I love are people with political views diametrically opposed to mine. I do not want to lose these friends, family, and clients from my life or work. There are good reasons why I love, enjoy, and appreciate these individuals that go beyond our views on politics, religion, or any of the other myriad topics that often tear people apart.
I myself can no longer remain quiet about my views. How can I then advise my clients to do so? I can’t. The issues that have been raised through this extraordinarily long election process are too important. The economy. Jobs. World relations. Equality for minorities, women, disabled people and the LGBT community. Gun control. Women’s right to choose. Environmental issues. And on and on.
The key here is respect. There are ways of communicating our viewpoints that show our own values and knowledge of the issues, without tearing down others in the process. We don’t need to call each other names, act in a superior way, or gloat when our candidate wins. We didn’t need to do this when Obama won. We don’t need to act this way with Trump’s victory.
I do not understand how someone could vote for a person like Donald Trump. Yet, I know people very close to me did so and that they feel just as passionately in their convictions as I do in mine. I get that they do not understand how I could vote for Hillary Clinton. But I did. And I feel that my own reasons are valid and important.
What’s done is done and we have to move forward. We have to work together to continue to Keep this Country Great. We all know that we cannot remain complacent and that, if we truly believe in a cause, we must show this by our actions. We cannot leave it up to only the politicians to make decisions and take action for us. We must be the change makers ourselves. We must be strong in our convictions.
I’ve changed my mind. Another of those rights as a woman. I will discuss my viewpoint. I will express my sadness and fear at the outcome of this election – in a rational and respectful way.
I hope people who have differing viewpoints will give me the courtesy of the same rationality and respect. It may seem difficult right now, but we can still appreciate the goodness in each other. We can still love one another.