The election is over, but the horrific campaign exacerbated the divisions in our country.
Rich vs. poor.
Black vs. white.
Male vs. female.
White vs. Hispanic.
Gay vs. straight.
Fat vs. thin.
Isolationist vs. globalization supporter.
It’s up to sociologists and economists and historians to pinpoint the causes—but we get to decide what we do now.
Do we protest? Yes, of course! That’s the American way! But letting protests descend into violence accomplishes nothing. Help keep the people marching with you directed. Organize around a goal, not just around your anger.
Do we contact our senator and representatives? More people should. Write a letter or an email. Let it sit a couple of hours and review it. No one will read a boiling missive. Calmly, rationally express your disappointment. Remind them that they serve you and you are watching. Begin organizing now for the midterm elections. Remind them of that, too.
Do we take to social media? Why not? This is trickier, though, and requires three things from every participant:
1. Remember that you potentially have a large audience. Don’t stoke the flames, any more than you would run into a crowded building and yell, “Fire!” Someone reading your passionate post may take an action that would appall you. Think before you post!
2. Check your facts before you post. I know, fact-checking resembles work and social media is supposed to be fun, but in today’s social climate, it’s terribly irresponsible to put out something without checking its authenticity. Do you know the story of the feather pillow? A young student asked his teacher how he could learn to curb his angry words. The teacher told him to slice the pillow open and take a walk, scattering handfuls of feathers to the wind. When he returned, the teacher instructed him to retrieve all the feathers. The student responded that was impossible. The teacher nodded and said, “So is it with your words.” Once something is posted, it can never be fully retrieved. A post lives on. Repeat that to yourself before you hit Enter.
3. Check the facts before you respond to a post. Yes, more work, but do you really want to spread lies about someone or about an organization? There is enough true dirt out there to go around! Dig and find some of it, if that’s your inclination. Just check the facts you find.
Help keep your groups calm. Whether you interact via the Internet or at a rally, whether you promote a petition or hang up posters, be part of the force that produces calm so that change can occur.
Don’t forget: America shows the world how democracy should be done. You may not like the results, or you may be ecstatic about who won, but it’s time to behave like a citizen. Support your country. The Republic will endure!
President and CEO