Americans, Trump & Conflict. An Election of Contempt

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Americans, Trump & Conflict. An election of contempt.

As a mediator today is a hard day for me…my training vs. my personal feelings. But wait! That’s really every day in a mediator’s life.

We say that we are “neutral” and “impartial” that’s not really true. What we are, or should strive for is to operate with a focus on the best interests of all parties. It is impossible to keep our personal values and belief’s out of the room; they make us who we are.

As it seems to have been for quite some time, America is in conflict. As a mediator, I’m trained to help manage conflict, not on this scale but to manage it none the less. It has been fascinating to watch what has happened, listen to what people are saying, pick up on language, body language and behaviors of not only the candidates but the supporters. To be trained in communication and to watch as messages were manipulated, misunderstood and diverted in a very combative process certainly makes me concerned about the futures of those people stuck in their positions.

A voice has been given to Donald Trump and to those supporters who hate diversity, who are sexist, racist and intolerant. As a mediator I try to imagine how this power imbalance can be brought into line. By giving a voice also to the Trump supporters who are not filled with the same hate but are frustrated and want change, to those who voted a different way or didn’t vote at all, we start to shift the balance of power.

By giving everyone a voice, the dialogue can start around what American’s concerns, fears and needs are. The country will continue to be in conflict now that the election is over unless the divide between the 2 major sets of positons and interests are addressed in a process that is inclusive and collaborative.

Here’s the thing…Donald Trump does not have to be a model of sensitivity and correctness for his fellow Americans to show their empathy, inquisitiveness, tolerance and willingness to be accepting.

Donald Trump is a celebrity, with power and means. He truly does not live day to day as the rest of us do. For the American people, the task will be to open a dialogue, to listen, to be tolerant and to allow EVERYONE to have a voice and to show it every day in real life. To show that others matter, that diversity is welcome and tolerated and to understand other people’s perspectives, positions and fears.

This election was clearly about change, from the bottom up, not the top down.

It is not up to Donald Trump in his gold tower to empower Americans to act in a way the promotes positive change. It is up to the American people to stand together now as Americans (in all that entails) and empower Donald Trump to be a leader that leads through action, inclusivity, tolerance and collaboration; not fear.

Now that the decision is made, are you up for the task?

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