Donald Trump cannot make America great again.
Now before you read that statement as an endorsement of one political party or the other on my part, here’s what I really believe:
Government is not the answer.
Like President Trump, Abraham Lincoln presided over a nation that was sharply divided. We have not reached the point of civil war (yet!), but during his Gettysburg address, Lincoln shared some good advice that should resonate with us today.
Lincoln traced our liberty back to our founding fathers’ belief that all men are created equal. In his speech, he never mentioned the North, the South, slave, abolitionist, Union, or Confederacy. Rather than citing our differences, he pointed out our equality. Only when every person treated each other with equality and respect could “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people” not perish from the earth.
Lincoln believed that government merely represented who held the real power to preserve the nation: the people.
And here’s the really cool thing. We don’t have to wait until the mid-term elections to send Washington a message. Join me over the next 30 days as we do what our politicians apparently can’t: treat each other with respect and unite our country. Here’s a day by day guide to help. (You can download a PDF version of the guide at the end of the post.)
Day 1 – Day 5 – Fixing America starts with YOU.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. C.G. Jung
Day 1 – Take 10 seconds and think of someone smarter than you. Take another 10 seconds and realize that they probably aren’t the only one.
Day 3 – Today, realize that some people you interact with wear their emotions on their sleeves. You’ll have to be patient, wade through that emotion without being sucked up in it yourself, and acknowledge their feelings to get down to business.
Day 4 -Today, realize that some people you interact with suppress their emotions behind logic and practicality. You’ll have to be patient, answer all their probing questions without feeling personally attacked, and then get down to business.
Day 5 – Be aware that you are the person of Day 3 or Day 4.
Day 6 – Day 10 — Use your EMOTIONS to your advantage.
I am not fearless. I get scared plenty. But I have also learned how to channel that emotion to sharpen me. Bear Grylls
Day 6 – Talk to your neighbor over the fence. Ask them about their kids/grandkids. Show pictures.
Day 7 – Wake up 5 minutes early and find three things to be grateful for today.
Day 8 – Remember, you can’t change anybody. To influence someone, understand them first. It will open the door of trust.
Day 9 – Quit sharing your thoughts on social media. It’s polarizing and you aren’t changing anybody’s mind anyway. (See Day 8 above)
Day 10 – Today, give respect before people earn it. A funny thing will happen . . . they will give respect back.
Day 11 – Day 15 — Next, expand your PERSPECTIVE.
Perspective is worth 80 IQ points. – Alan Kay
Day 11 – Take a person of a different race to coffee. Ask them what it was like growing up in America.
Day 12 – Drive a different way home from work. You might see something different.
Day 13 – Ask a 70 year old about what divided America in 1967 versus what divides us in 2017.
Day 14 – Today, ask a trusted confidant where your blind spots and biases lay. (HINT: do NOT combine this exercise with Day 21.)
Day 15 – Get an immigrant or someone whose second language is English to tell their story of how they got to your town and why they came.
Day 16 – Day 20 — LEARN from others instead of competing with them.
I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. Albert Einstein
Day 16 – Listen when others are talking. No really listen.
Day 17 – Today if someone chooses to do or suggests something different than you offered, don’t take it personally. More than likely, the other person is merely approaching the same issue from their vantage point. See if you can identify it.
Day 18 – If you find yourself at odds in a conversation today, resist the urge to defend your position. Instead, try to figure out how the other person arrived at their conclusion.
Day 19 – Today is thick skin day. Promise yourself that you will not be overly sensitive if you are insulted, teased, reprimanded, or singled out.
Day 20 – If someone still managed to get under your thick skin yesterday, start by asking yourself, “Did I play a role in the issue?” Examine your own motives and desires.
Day 21 – Day 30 — 10 PRACTICAL TOOLS to unite us.
When there is no enemy within, the enemy on the outside cannot hurt you. Winston Churchill
Day 21 – Call your mother.
Day 22 – Turn off the news. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out if it is fake or true. Either way it fuels divisiveness.
Day 23 – Travel to a different zip code. You’ll see the equality President Lincoln was talking about.
Day 24 – Delete President Trump’s Twitter feed. (No explanation needed.)
Day 25 – Watch college football instead of the NFL — it’s better anyway.
Day 26 – Stay off the internet today. (Except if you want to read my previous blogs. Then by all means, indulge.) Fill the time with a hobby, or speaking to a friend. If you have neglected Day 21, get on it.
Day 27 – Ask two people about an event from the past that you all are familiar with. Note how each person remembers it differently. Also know that I am aware that I ended the first sentence in this section with a preposition. Does that bother you? (If so, see Day 4.)
Day 28 – Instead of spending hours on Facebook today, take 60 seconds and jot down the names of two people that push your buttons. Identify what they do that pushes your button. Why does that bother you?
Day 29 – Add value to someone today by sending them a compliment, an interesting link, or a helpful article.
Day 30 – If all else has failed up to this point, then turn on some country music. It will make you feel better about your own life.
Three things to remember as we attempt to unite the un-United States.
(1) The power, and thus the responsibility, to bring our country together rests with us–not our government.
(2) Wherever you fall on the political, social, or economic spectrum doesn’t matter. We should all be a part of the solution.
(3) We will never make progress if we wait for “the other side” to meet us halfway.
Call to action
Click the link to download your 30 Days to Unite the un-United States. Post it in your office and get to work. We’ve got a nation to heal.