I am fascinated by the energy being spent by Democrats and Republicans alike to discredit the other party’s candidate. If I had a dollar for every infographic and speech explaining why NOT to vote for Hillary or Donald, I’d be rich! This is a reflection of the intensely adversarial climate in which we are living. Polarization trumps collaboration, hateful messages trump meaningful conversations. Emotional volatility trumps rational thought. Fear trumps everything.
I feel a lot of empathy for anyone heading to the polls this November. Beneath the surface of all the acrimony is something nobody wants to talk about.
Has our country ever faced this sort of dilemma? For many in the United States, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump poses a soul-crushing dilemma; Abandon my beliefs by voting for my party’s candidate, or abandon my tribe by voting more consistent with my values. Either way, I lose. The problem, the lesson, and the reality applies far beyond the presidential election.
The problem: We’ve been cornered by the very polarization we’ve been supporting.
The lesson: Be careful who you throw under the bus today because tomorrow he or she may be the lesser of two evils on your ballot. Burning bridges limits choices.
The reality: Who you vote for may be a big deal to your tribe, but probably isn’t going to change your world. You’ve already been busy creating the world in which you live in. How you conduct yourself before and after you vote will make the biggest difference.
Copyright 2016, Next Element Consulting, LLC
Get our latest book Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability. This book is the foundation for our Leading Out of Drama program, a comprehensive system for building cultures of compassionate accountability.