This essay is being written on Sunday, November 1, two days prior to Election Day 2020. Congratulations to the winners, many prayers, and best wishes to all of you as you set agendas and priorities, and strategies for the future. Barack Obama famously said after his re-election to the Presidency of the United States in November 2012 that “elections have consequences.” Which is true, but unfortunate. That smacks of “we won, you lost, nonnanonna booboo…”
We wish that elections had in them, the formula, the seeds, the potential to address problems. Those who see government as the solution to all problems have a theory or manuscript or template to solve all of mankind’s woes with a program or by throwing lots of fake money at it. Too often, the solutions remain elusive, but a group of people who are advocates of the solution come out with very nice financial rewards, and by accomplishing nothing of what they seek to remedy, they have the ability to keep lobbying their disgruntled followers about the need for more time, more resources, and the urging that “next time will be the charm.”
If that sounds like wistful grumbling, it might be. I will always subscribe to what Winston Churchill said about democracy “It’s the worst form of government, except for all the others.” And then I would just as quickly add that democracy is a general description of how we operate, but a more accurate term for our form of governance is a representative republic. It’s an important distinction, in that our forefathers built into our constitution the protection of the rights of minorities. Though at the outset, our government and our governance were far from perfect – the seeds for the remedies to all of its imperfections were sown, and eventually, those remedies emerged and were used to address inadequacies, injustice, and imperfections. Because of those seeds our country and it is now much closer to the ideals that the founders sought.
“If we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
We’re not there yet, I doubt that we will ever get there, but I shudder to think of what will be left of this grand republic if the forces of disinformation, those who try at every turn to vomit out facts that are devoid of context, and think that they serve the common good by denying reality and wink winking and nudge nudging the truth, because, well… everyone knows, we have to because we’re on the right side. Vince Lombardi was a football coach, I live close to where his greatest coaching achievement took place, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI. Vince said this wise thing once, “If we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” That’s what I believe America is all about. Chasing perfection… and closing in on excellence.
Those who would tear down our current structure would be imprisoned or worse for what they say about our government if they lived many other places here on earth. Instead of focusing on the acrimony and the disagreements, and how strongly we may agree or disagree about the outcome or the potential outcome of the election, let me finally get the point and sing the song that I have been tuning up for. We are way more than what we disagree about. Those who want to define us by what we disagree about are not interested in every finding common ground or finding a resolution to their perceived grievances.
… their comments and exchanges overflowed with affection for each other and how much they could see what the other person was saying.
One of the reasons to celebrate the existence of a platform like BizCatalyst 360° is for the kind of exchanges that Dennis Pitocco fosters there (here). While on vacation recently, I read some great exchanges between some wonderful, intelligent, and passionate people. Melissa Hughes, Kimberly Davis, and Mark O’Brien —all sweet and fabulous peeps (and best of all, friends of mine…), had beautiful exchanges of ideas. I wish I could reference those posts and the commentaries that followed, but one of the few downsides of that vacation was crappy internet, and I had all that I could do to just read the posts. Suffice to say that there were disagreements among them but LISTEN TO ME HERE… their comments and exchanges overflowed with affection for each other and how much they could see what the other person was saying. I loved that no one was a dirty rotten so and so, or an idjit or an ignoramus or morally bankrupt, hypocritical and deserving of the very worst that hell (or Illinois – I’m kidding… just seeing if you’re still paying attention…) has to offer.
What Dennis offers here are opportunities to talk, to listen deeply, to ponder (oh how I wish more of us pondered more often, more deeply…) reflect, and respectfully offer our perspectives. Ain’t nobody dead right, ain’t nobody hopelessly wrong. I wrote something earlier this year that discussed the concept of context. It’s pretty important. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and we all need to understand why a thing is happening, as much as the thing that is happening. Read it here:
You know that old saw about there are two sides to every story? I also love how two things, which may seem diametrically opposed – maybe both be true.
Friends, however, this election has turned out, we need to talk to each other. Leave the politics out of it if you have to. Maybe make a pact that you won’t discuss politics until you get to your fifth interaction. I mean it. Strive, really work at talking with people, and promise yourself NOT to give a crap about their politics. Promise yourself and the world to respect them, to listen to them, to cherish their right to their opinion and the free expression of it, and continue to engage with them, come Illinois or high water. (Oops I did it again…)
Our system of government and our magnificent mess of administering to the common good is too important to throw away in a temper tantrum.
I love everyone too much to walk away. We all need to breathe and know that we can’t solve anything by disparaging opinions different than ours. It all starts one conversation at a time. I’m not asking any of us to be perfect, I just want to chase perfection with all of you. How cool it will be when we have to settle for excellence.