In the last blog we talked about the present reality that we find ourselves in presenting a number of opportunities for us to address the issues that have separated us and continue to divide this country. We talked about the importance of connecting with others and communicating with others, specifically listening to others, especially those we don’t agree with. Being flexible both in our thinking and in our behavior. Specifically, trying in a different way to address the issues that we have been struggling with in this country for many, many years.
We also talked about the importance of dealing with your feelings and discharging and venting them so that they don’t get in the way of you thinking clearly in the present. And last of all, we talked about the importance of being optimistic about the future.
Things will continue to change. Everything, both good and bad, is temporary. And few things, even an election, have a pervasive effect on everything in your world. This was an important election and indeed things have changed, but much has remained the same. Especially the issues that divide us. And last of all, we talked about not getting into the blame game. Don’t get engaged in the scapegoating that will be occurring now. We can hold people accountable and hold ourselves accountable without blaming others.
And here are a few more on my checklist of things to do.
1.) Act on your values. We assume that many people were doing that when they voted. But that was only the start. We now need to make realistic plans for action and we need to carry them through. So far, a relatively peaceful change has occurred. We can learn from that. On whichever side of the political fence you are, change usually occurs slowly. At least I think that is true for lasting changes. Action, patience and hard work are required on both sides.
2.) Be self-confident that what you can do has an impact. Change has occurred over the last forty years. Significant changes. It may not feel that way to some people today, but as a child of the Sixties who grew up in a segregated South, a lot have changed. Granted, a lot has not. Our generation needs to finish the job that we started. We need to at least help the present generation, our children, to do this. Too many of us have given up and too many of us have sold out to the “greed is good” model of capitalism.
3.) Humor. Don’t direct it at the people who are different from you, the people you don’t agree with. First, try directing it at yourself. As Americans, we have done many miraculous things. But we should remember that many people in other countries of this world are amazed at what has just happened in our country. They might agree with Bill Murray’s line in the old movie, Stripes, when he says, “We’re Americans and we have been thrown out of every respectable country in the world.” They might also agree with Churchill’s quote, that "Americans can be counted on to do the right thing after they’ve exhausted every other option.” Part of listening to others is listening to other members of the international community and their perception of us.
4.) We need to take care of ourselves during this time. We need to throw ourselves into whatever cause we are promoting at present, but we also need to make sure that we get enough sleep, exercise, and maintain a decent diet. We’re not going to be effective advocating for anything if we are not taking care of ourselves, physically, emotionally and financially.
5.) We also need to take care of others. We need to care for our brothers or sisters in this country regardless of their race, religion, sexual preference or politics. We need to make America kind...again. There’s only one ship for all of us, and it’s THE USS UNITED STATES.
Ronald L. Breazeale, Ph.D.
Author, Duct Tape Isn’t Enough and First Night