The Post Election Empathy Void

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This was written the day after the 2016 Election on November 12th originally published on Medium

Let’s pause.

To honor how others, all of us, might be feeling.

Let’s use the emotional volatility of the outcome of this election to shift our naked vulnerabilities from the self, to hearts and minds of others who may not be like us; who may look, feel, think, love and act differently.

Let’s empathize.

Some of us need time to process the outcome of this election. And feel the need to mourn. Others might think your mourning is not necessary. But that is okay, they do not feel what you feel.

Some of us want to move forward. And have all of us move on with our lives. Others might think your attitude is insensitive. But that is okay, everyone can feel what they feel.

Let’s empathize even when it feels hard to.

Some of us are conservative and do not have the platform to feel comfortable around their liberal friends to voice why they voted for Trump because of what those associated assumptions could imply.

Some of us are liberal and want to leave the country, shout from the rooftops and exclaim that Trump will never be our president. That’s okay. Everyone has a right to feel the way they feel. But please don’t leave, we have work HERE to do!

Let’s empathize ESPECIALLY as others need us.

Some of us fear for our lives today. I imagine that women, all forms of minorities (non-white) and the LGBT community could be feeling levels of sadness or fear or shock or horror that my white male friends will never fully understand. Nor could we. But let’s earn our privileges by exchanging them for a commitment to reaching out, listening, internalizing and processing what life consists of in America for those who are different than us.

For any of my friends who are experiencing hate directed their way…I am here for you. I will protect you. And I will never let you feel alone in this country. And I will never, ever let you down.

Let’s dig deeper. Go further. And get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Some of us believe in everything Trump believed in. Even all the hate.

I firmly believe that our generation for the large majority adamantly did not condone Trump’s often hurtful and divisive rhetoric. I aspire to dream in Locke more than Hobbes.

And I imagine that most people who will read this cannot begin to treat the things he said as acceptable. And it is not.

But as hard as it is to swallow, let’s try to pull back the why, the deep seeded psychological insights that explain how others might find comfort in what we deem as intolerable speech. Talk to people. Learn. Seek new perspective.

It’s messy. It’s yucky. But if we want to unite our country, we are going to have to look deeply into the areas of our collective attitudes even when they are at their nastiest to try and understand how to make things better, by starting with understanding. I believe in our generation.

Let’s Dream

I believe in a better America. Where we build environments where an elderly white man wearing a Make America Great Again hat and a young black woman can share in meaningful conversation. Where a Muslim boy, a white girl and a Mexican girl can have play dates. Where everyone can feel completely comfortable being exactly who they are.

Be universal.

Be strong.

Look up what “Strong Hearted Leadership” means and build the courage to embody those ideals.

Commit to unity and empathy as the principles guiding the bedrock of your words and actions.

I am hosting a dialogue at my apartment to discuss the principles of unity and empathy tonight in Seattle. Let’s put in the work to build unity. I will share out what our first conversation taught us.

More action to come.