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My whole life, my father was a Republican and my mother was a Democrat. While they eventually got divorced, they were married 29 years. Politics has nothing to do with their decision to split.
What did I learn from the two of them about American politics? First and foremost, civility: something that you may have noticed is in short supply today (as it has been at various times in our nation’s history). True, my parents disagreed with each other and with many of their friends over who to vote for or which party to support. And they occasionally disagreed over policies (much less often than you’d think). Sometimes one or the other would distrust a politician’s character and true intentions – but never each other’s, and never their friends.
My parents taught me to respect the person across the aisle or in the next voting booth, even if you find their choices unfortunate or their reasoning off. This has served me well my entire life. It’s something my wife and I strive to pass on to our children. A lot of their friends and some of their teachers discuss different political ideas than our kids have. They’re still friends and admired educators. They don’t mean this nation harm. They just disagree with our children.
And that last one? The understanding that all of us, from the far right to the far left to all the shades of purple in between, love our country and wants the best for it? That is the glue that holds us together.
The glue that must continue holding us together.
Yes, sometimes a politician offends our sensibilities. Sometimes the rhetoric is turned too loud, and it’s entirely possible that the mainstream media – FOX, CNN, MSNBC, you name it – is fueled by cynics whose bias is not entirely patriotic.
But our neighbors? Our friends? Strangers in another state or across the country? Never, ever believe that they want anything but the best for our country.
As leaders – be we speakers or executives, authors, entrepreneurs, media luminaries, or teachers – we have a moral responsibility to step up and try our best to reel in the divisive cancer that has been festering for years now, and that is threatening to take over this year’s election cycle.
That is why we at OPENfor.business are so proud that one of our own, Eileen McDargh, brought us the True Leader Creed, which she and some colleagues crafted to take a stand and try to wrest back our nation from the shouters and the haters.
We invite you to read it over. If it fits your own convictions, as it does mine, then please: sign it, share it, and encourage your friends to sign it too.
And let’s live by it. As leaders, we owe this to the nation we all – Independents, Democrats, Republicans, and Other – love as we love our family. Don’t you think?