Keep Calm and Move OnManley Hopkinson
Let Obama be an example to us!!
Not in every way, but in the way that, despite the depth of the rhetoric in the election, Obama is soothing the open sores with the publicly spoken words on Trump of “If you succeed, then the country succeeds!” To continue the polarity of debate after the democratic election is complete is to deepen the cuts and impede the healing. To hit the streets and protest that the outcome of the democratic election was not as you wanted is to protest against democracy itself. To vote for uncertainty and then be fearful of uncertainty or reluctantly engage with uncertainty is to vote for anarchy.
The parallels between the Brexit referendum and the race to the White House were extraordinary;
- Two strongly held convictions at polar opposites split further apart by a media mainly driven by self interest and short term gains
- The quality of the debate from both camps on both sides of the Atlantic was nothing short of demeaning and patronising
- An unparalleled electoral engagement not necessarily reflected in the voting demographic, and
- A relentless refusal by the losing side to accept the demographic decision
When I sit back and try to make sense of it all, a few key factors float to the surface
No vote, no voice
You cannot protest if you did not vote. If you choose not to vote then you have no voice; you chose to leave your fate in the hands of others. To argue that the vote was not yours so the result, or the President, is not yours or that those making the vote were somehow ignorant or prejudiced is to only expose the fallacy of your position and the depth of your victim mentality. Now is the time for compassion.
Do we respect our democracy?
If you voted and the other side won, then you must accept that you entered into a contract with democracy. Had your side won, you would have honoured the election, surely? The UK and the USA have been active and vocal believers in the right of democracy within our own nations and, at times wrongly I believe, imposing our democratic ideal on other nations against their will and with devastating consequences. To lose and then blame democracy, when so much blood has been spilt in its protection, verges on lunacy, ignorance and denial. Now is the time for compassion.
Have we lost respect for difference?
Who is to say that I am right or you are wrong? Or t’other way round for that matter! Nature and energy is about balance and equilibrium; the yang and the yang, magnetic north and magnetic south. We must be able to hold difference with respect, tolerance and with a mind set up for growth. We must drop our positions of ignorance and be prepared to learn. Collective brilliance is difference in action. We need it at so many levels. We must not create a culture of intolerance; think of the hurt in the world through our inability to accept difference? Now is the time for compassion.
Uncertainty won the vote over certainty
There is an old expression that says “All that is necessary for the success of evil is that good people do nothing.” In conversation with a very good friend of mine, Mark, he developed the theme of uncertainty and said, “that is what everyone has actually voted for. The recent electoral results demonstrate that change was more acceptable than no-change!” The political elite and “the State” have ignored the will of the people they represent for too long. A tipping point of resentment at not being heard is the expression that “to do nothing” was not an option. Now is the time for compassionate leadership – to act with positive intent on the understanding of others.
Obama has set a challenge to the political opposition in the UK, in particular the divisive and patronising position held by some of our elected parliament and its advisors, that what is needed now is not to fulfil the perception that they are in office for self fulfilment, but for them to listen to the wider democratic voice and deliver to its demands, for the “good of all people.”
Now is precisely the time to shake hands, grow our understanding of each other, collaborate and move on.
Now is precisely the time for a compassionate engagement from all parties to work together, make sense of it all and to ensure that the new world order works for all.
Now is precisely the time for compassion, and if ever there was a time, now is precisely the time that we must “Keep calm and move on.”