A Plea on Election Day

With the polls barely opened and voting just underway, I write this with absolutely no idea of how this election is going to turn out.  I cast my ballot already, one among the millions of early voters who decided they couldn’t wait until November 6th to record their choice for President of the United States.  And while I certainly have strong feelings about the outcome, my purpose today is to extend a heartfelt plea to our next President.  Please make communication a top priority of your administration.

Our nation is perhaps at its polarized worst right now.  This campaign has been difficult for everyone.  The negative attacks from both sides have at times been downright painful to watch.  So whoever wins at the polls today faces a daunting task.  He must address a country so divided that achieving any meaningful policy initiatives will be extremely difficult.  That’s where communication comes in.

And by communication, I don’t mean issuing statements and delivering talking points. I mean really communicating, which starts with listening.  Listening to what the voters of this country have really said.  Listening to your most loyal supporters and your fervent opponents. Listening to the 47% and the 1%.  Listening to white, black, Asian, Latino and everyone in between.  Listening and then communicating via a two-way dialogue.

Washington has been in gridlock far too long.  The only way to break that gridlock is to open the lines of communication from all sides and work together to reach a level of compromise that benefits the nation as a whole, not one political party or the other.  Compromise is not a dirty word.  It’s a word that should define leadership.  And our next leader, Democrat or Republican, will have to make tough choices in order to get this country to a better place.

So please, can we put aside the campaign rhetoric now? Can we agree that disagreement does not make either side bad or evil?  Can we accept that a difference of opinion does not have to mean stalemate?  Can we please, as a nation, as a collection of diverse people with diverse interests, make communicating with one another in an open and honest way, without all the harsh judgments, a priority?

If the answer is yes, then I welcome the outcome of this election, whatever it may be, with a sigh of relief, along with the belief that the key to a strong and effective democracy starts and ends with communication.

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