An earlier version of this article was titled “Get Over Yourselves, America” – a title given by an editor. Upon further consideration, I feel that its a bit harsh and does not reflect the true meaning of this post. It’s not about “getting over ourselves” but about “coming together.” Here is to coming together today.
Since I started this column, I have written on a variety of topics. From writer’s block to how salesman suck, I have been telling the world how I see it for over a year now. Heck, I have even written on elevator speeches and the woes of being a Millennial in the workplace. And with each time I write an article I am pleasantly surprised by the reaction of those reading it (and that, honestly, people are reading it at all).
People seem to relate and, perhaps, even take some of my advice to heart. The feedback from my readers is full of positivity and passion for success and growth in their business and as individuals. It is because of this feedback that no topic has been left unturned. Any topic that pops in my head on a Monday is one that I run with or so I thought.
It appears that there is one topic I will not touch—politics—until now.
For my avid readers, I am sure you noticed the absence of this column for the last two months. The truth is that the only topic I wanted to discuss was politics and the American dream. I believe that Freedom of Speech is a thing but not really. Sure, that is the most ambiguous comment made to date but it’s how I see it—although you have the right to say anything and believe in anything, it does not mean that you are immune to the world’s right to do the same.
To be blunt—I stayed away from discussing politics because I did not want the feedback (positive or negative) that I would get from saying, well, anything related to it.
It is apparent now more than ever that politics is a trigger point for people. No matter what one says or does, there is always someone else passionately disagreeing and pumping their fists in a rage. This election has brought out deep, let’s say, passion for expressing one’s political opinions to the world.
Now before you bring in examples from historical elections that show this race is no meaner or crazier than others that precede it, let’s stop and look around. According to a quick Google search and Internet Live Stats, there are a billion more internet users in the world today than there were in 2012, the last presidential election. As far as smartphone users are concerned, according to Statista.com, there is an estimated 85 million more users in the United States today than in 2012.
Let’s just get to the point—the access to information is easier and wider reaching then in any other presidential race.
So what does this mean? Well it should mean that people are getting exposed to different views and ideas. No, my friends. Sadly, I think the opposite is occurring. People are utilizing their access to information to continue fueling their current beliefs. Thanks to the crazy amount of election coverage, no matter what side of the fence (or “wall” might be more appropriate) you find yourself on, there is new evidence and data to back it up every couple of hours.
Instead of creating more understanding and acceptance to the opposition, this access to information has created an us versus them mentality (not to mention the actual actions of those in power to continue this mentality). The more people know, the more passion they seem to have for “their side.” Now I support backing one’s party, candidate, ideologies, or whatever but one must not lose sight of the current reality that they live in.
Guess what? Not everyone agrees with you. Not everyone wants your candidate win. Not everyone wants coffee. Get over it!
This election has manifested into passion but for what? Passion for those that are the same as yourself? Passion for disliking those that are different? Passion for pushing your ideologies onto others? Passion for not wanting to work with people that think differently then yourself?
Here is the thing though—after the election is over, what are you going to do? If your candidate wins, will you rejoice in happiness and point fingers at those who “lost?” If your candidate loses, are you going to threaten to go to Canada and never come back again?
Come Wednesday morning, you will still wake up in your house (or maybe a bar if you get drunk). You will still clean yourself (hopefully). And, crazy enough, you will still have work (unless your drunken night got you fired). Life will still go on.
However, what kind of life will it be? That is up to you. As my friend Bill from Schoolhouse Rock taught me, there are a lot of checks and balances in our system. No matter what president wins, nothing will change in the United States come Wednesday morning.
But you can make a change in America. You can agree to put this whole election behind you.
You can walk into the voting booth, cast your vote, and agree that it’s over. No more “us” versus “them.” Agree to come out of that booth with your head held high and be proud that you still live in a country that lets you voice your passionate opinions. Agree to work, without reservation, with your coworkers despite their political beliefs. Agree to hug your family members who voted for that other person. Agree to live in a world that is about loving our fellow human.
My name is Samantha Walters and I am what you would consider a “millennial executive” over at Colocation America. Every Monday (get it, get it, Samantha on Mondays – the S.O.M column) I will write a little something on whatever is on my mind from business practices to current events and everything else in between.