As I’m sure these times of polarization are distressing and disheartening to many of your readers (like me), I’d like to offer this congratulatory, yet pleading note to the impending winning candidates of our current election cycle at all levels of government:
Congratulations on your recent election win!
Though politics are meant to highlight contrast, you are now called to lead all of your constituents, not only your base.
As you’re no longer in an election, please actively and visibly sponsor bipartisanship, leading by example by working with leaders from your opponent’s party to:
1. Come to a compromise of legislation to positively impact at least one of the top hot button issues your opponent’s supporters care about, without breaking your principles or promises.
2. Evaluate the distribution of power within our government and ensure that any big decisions require at least some support from your opposition – actively advocate for this change (e.g at the federal level, requiring 60 votes for Supreme Court justice confirmation)
3. Establish a set of objectives and key results to clearly show the people you represent what your goals are — not your rhetoric, not even your actions, but your outcomes.
Set targets on these goals, and humbly accept when your policies do not result in clear success, but openly learn from them.
America and our communities need healing, and it starts with you.
If you can’t at least see that your opponent has positive intent, invite their family over for dinner for as many nights as required (seriously) to heal your relationship, and let that serve as an example for all of us, who may be thinking that we are good and the people on “the other side” are evil, that we are right and people on “the other side” just don’t get it, that it’s not worth even having a conversation with them.
The echo chambers are getting bigger, and therefore louder, and the wall between “our” chamber and “their” chamber is getting thicker.
We blame the social media companies, we blame the opponent’s leader, we blame our news outlets, but we are all accountable — for clicking on the click-bait, for not holding our own leaders accountable, for failing to even listen to a point of view that may be different to our own.
You now have the power. Show us how we can listen again.
Call me naive, but I sincerely hope that every candidate — from our local city council/school board, up to our president, would consider such requests, and that all voters would hold our elected leaders accountable to narrow the space between us all.