I rarely discuss my political views because it can easily create reactions and turmoil around me, which is not my intent. However, in this political year, with so much rhetoric and divisiveness swirling around me, I feel compelled to speak out.
I whole-hardheartedly support Hillary for President.
And I understand why so many young people have joined the Bernie Sanders movement, as they are frustrated and disappointed by the political system as it stands today. And I’m very glad that Bernie is raising the bar for accountability in questioning that system.
The problem is this: once the “revolution” has been achieved, we will need to get back to the business of real change in how our country is governed, and that takes slow, painstaking effort–not yelling and screaming, not protesting and blocking, but working together with all parties to come to some sort of agreement that will allow these changes to become part of our social fabric.
I was a “revolutionary” in the late 60s. I protested the war in Viet Nam. I got arrested for trying to open admissions to black people at an almost entirely white university in Texas that was a state run institution. I stood with my friends in horror of the exclusion of so many in our society to the basic benefits that the more privileged people enjoyed.
By the time I was 23 years old, I had learned that standing on a soap box and shouting about change didn’t actually effect change. And I have been grateful since then because it allowed me to work within our society to actually do the things that make a difference.
I remember how excited people were to elect Obama–dreaming of dramatic changes to our government and our country. The Congress was also run by a majority of Democrats. What ensued was the worse period of gridlock I can remember.
I don’t believe that is an indictment of Obama. Yes, he has some things to learn about building coalitions, and maybe could have done more, but I recall reading about how many meetings he tried to have with his opponents. They refused to hear him out. They refused to work toward healing the rifts. They stubbornly dug in their heels and blocked effort after effort to solve problems.
This is exactly what will happen if we elect someone with big dreamer ideas and no clear path for creating the compromises necessary to move people toward real solutions.
In building my business, I consistently had to work with people I didn’t agree with. I had to find common ground. I had to keep my eye on the bigger vision, to keep a perspective that understood where they were coming from, how to create a win-win for both of us.
That required a lot of soul searching about whether I wanted to be “right” or really right. Whether I wanted to win my point or win for the business.
So the question today is this: Do we want to win for ourselves or win for our country? Do we want to risk allowing exclusionary, racist, sexist, zealous religious discrimination to further set back the progress we have made as a nation? Or do we want someone with wisdom, experience and the uncanny ability to engage people in conversation about real solutions to overwhelming problems?
I’m choosing Hillary because she represents the latter to me. I want to see us continue to grow together, not become more divided.