The 2016 election cycle has thankfully come to an end! Hallelujah! Now, if the insults, the biased polling touted as the gospel, the incivility that bred hatred and strife, the intolerance of voices other than our own would also end, I suspect I might dance the night away!!!!!!!
I’ve been a committed voter since I was 18 and each election cycle I proudly vote for the person I believe would be best for all of us. I thought that was the goal. When I cast my vote two weeks ago I prayed for guidance as I remembered all those who fought for this precious right, so here’s what I expect our new leaders (and the media that helped fan the flames with their endless run of “coverage”) to do in the days ahead:
Build bridges to help heal the deep divides that they’ve created…
…with the political rhetoric, dis/mistrust, name calling, and redefining what “news” is. “Experts, pundits, debaters, commentators and pollsters” all talking at the same time is not “news” nor was it helpful. The research continues to say that voters hate negative ads—please LISTEN and stop indulging in them!
Understand that compromise is a good word, cooperation is a better one.
Our political and communications systems need fixing—the imperfect candidates who were vying for these offices are just like the rest of us—IMPERFECT. Free press and free speech take on new meaning and implications when we no longer value sensitivity or self-censor our words, thoughts and actions. Words and actions have immense power and can be extremely hurtful and prejudicial when taken out of context.
In kindergarten we’re taught to cooperate, work together, get along, to be kind to one another—nothing about that has changed. At the end of the day we all want the same things: happy, healthy families, work that matters, hope, affordable housing and safe, clean neighborhoods, to worship as we please, an opportunity to prosper and grow, great teachers and schools, to be respected, valued and heard, and balanced (not the same thing as biased) coverage of the day’s news. We really need you to succeed so as my father would make me and my siblings do when we were fighting or being difficult: hug and beg pardon and don’t come out of your room until you make things better. Why? Because I said so, that’s why!
Finally, to new leaders everywhere: do your best and remember the lessons.
I thank God for your willingness to serve. Here are five of my favorite lessons as you begin this journey: (1) be careful of the company you keep; (2) do what’s right even if/when you have to stand alone; (3)listen, learn, lead—in that order; (4) trust your heart and your gut–they won’t lead you wrong; and (5) it’s not what you say, but what you do every day that will matter. We will be praying for you and cheering you on, so be blessed and shine brightly!