Dear Leaders of these United States

Dear:

President Obama, Vice President Biden, Speaker Ryan, House Minority Leader Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Reid, RNC, DNC, Secretary Clinton, Mr. Trump

CC:  PBS, NPR, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX

So, here we are.

I know that you all must be frustrated and tired.  So am I.  The history of how we got here is important, but I do not care right now.  Everyone is at fault.  Instead of pointing fingers at past mistakes, let us move forward.

What I ask may be especially hard for those in the House.  Their districts have been carved in such a manner as to make it difficult for them to appear to be cooperative with the opposing party.  Be assured, no matter your place on the political spectrum, you can speak with a civil tongue.

Words matter.  The words of our leaders have the power to spread division and hate.  They also have the power to spread hope and understanding.  Choose wisely.

I see the abuse you take on social media and on TV.  “Liberal” and “conservative” should not be used as insults and I wish those were the worst labels that people used.

The arms race of rhetoric can only serve to further divide us.  

We are all family.  Siblings can disagree but there must always be that foundation of love for our family.

Please state your views.  Use logic and reasoning to honestly explain why you believe so strongly in your views.  Then stop.  Resist the temptation to blame others for a problem.  Resist the temptation to throw a sarcastic jab.

After you are done speaking, the hardest part of your job begins.

Listen with the intention of understanding

Negotiations between political parties in these United States should NOT be as difficult as negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

I believe this country to be both strong and precious.  I have deep respect for the country and I respect you, the elected leaders.

I ask that that you conduct yourselves as if you respect the elected leaders.

Before you decide to announce that “Democrats are ______” or “Republicans are ______”, please remember that you are about to insult roughly half the citizenry. 

Gentle men and gentle ladies, I ask for your leadership.  

Thank you for your service.

Crucial Conversations

I tend to avoid confrontation.  Many times it is because I am able to “put myself in their shoes”.  I can understand where they are coming from and so can accept or adapt to the situation as it presents.  I also tend to live in my head so I do not even notice things that may irritate others.  That is my style.  It is important to know your style and, if possible, the style of the person you are going to be conversing with.  Do you run from confrontation?  Do you get super defensive?  Do you shut down?

As I approach a conversation that may become emotional and involve disagreement, I try to be mindful of my purpose and creating a safe atmosphere. It can be helpful to give the person a heads up about the discussion.  You can schedule a time to meet with them. If I approach a person the wrong way, perhaps when I am angry, they will likely shut down or get get defensive and start yelling back.  This will not accomplish anything!

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Mission Statements

A few years back I was in a course that had its participants construct a personal mission statement.  I had only seen them for corporations prior to that moment.  While I do forget about it from time to time, I  always come back to it.  It has focused my mind when trying to make decisions and has given me an additional sense of purpose.  It also ‘has my back’ in an unexpected way.  It has given me the strength to make decisions that I felt others would think silly or just wrong.  However, in my mind, I knew the decision was true to my mission and therefore a net positive.  To create it, I began by identifying my various roles in life (ex: sister, daughter, employee).  Then my weakness and strengths.  What would I want others to describe me as?  I looked for inspiration and found it in a quote from Gandhi (or as one website suggests not really him).  My mission statement:

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