It is our country. It is our divide. It is our work.

Our new President Elect Biden and VP Elect Harris have been charged with the extraordinary task of healing the divide in our country.  However, the job is not only theirs to do. 

It is our country.  

It is our divide.  

It is our work. 

So let’s begin. Let’s take a page from Stacey Abrams’s book and do what we can in our community to make a difference. I am going to ask that you start with your own life. You have likely engaged in discussion or avoided discussion with those who had a different party affiliation than you and a different point of view than you. I have heard stories of friendships lost over our differences. I even know of spouses that have committed to not talking about politics.  

On the contrary, my husband has a college friend with whom he has been engaging in discussion throughout the election season. What impressed me was how much they were able to talk, disagree and keep talking. Can you do that? Can you respectfully disagree and keep talking? 

Contributing to our country’s path forward is an active part of your legacy. Here are some steps you can take to begin this process.

  1. Depending on which political view you have, give people time to grieve loss and keep your celebrations limited to those who are celebrating with you, or vice versa, grieve your loss and allow others to celebrate.
  2. When appropriate, ask your friend and/or colleague to share with you what is most important to them and why they have chosen the party/candidate they’ve chosen.   
  3. Ask them to share what they are most afraid of and what they are most hopeful for.
  4. Invite them to share their thoughts about what needs to happen for the country to heal.
  5. Ask them if there is something you could do together to lead it in your shared circle.  

That’s it. Notice I did not suggest that you share your point of view. I only suggested that you ask for theirs. To lead healing, we will have leverage listening, not talking. Just listen.  My bet is that you will find we share a lot of the same hopes, dreams and fears. We share lots of the same values. And values can be funny because the rank order will be different for each of us and therein lies our divide. Let’s find a way to push past the ranking and anchor in the opportunity for a shared point of view. And let’s act from there.

Dr. Lisa

PS: Our song for this blog is “Friendship Train” by Gladys Knight & the Pips


Comment 1

  1. Reverett
    November 12, 2020

    Asking questions and encouraging others to share, focused listening – that’s the easy part, imho. A grinding halt to finding a common ground occurs because of the unfulfilled expectation of reciprocation of that same attentive listening with “Yes, but..” being the stop sign. Dr. Lisa, what if the question to share doesn’t come or the sharing is cut off?

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