By Tim Hayes
It felt good stepping away from the voting machine on Tuesday, didn’t it? Like walking out of a cold, dark cave of relentless ads, predictions, and analysis, and into the warm sunlight of a decision, regardless of which way it would eventually end up.
So now all the dust has settled, the victors identified, the vanquished off to get on with the rest of their lives. And the rest of us out here waiting to see what happens next.
May I make a suggestion? Let’s all – and I’m including everyone from all points on the political spectrum – agree to shift our focus from politics to people.
Entrepreneurs know that you can’t win every job you go after. There will be great days and there will be days you’d rather never rethink or relive. The world does not operate on a baseline of absolutes. The key is to build on what’s working well and learn from what’s not. Forward motion should always be the goal, and it’s by necessity a tough, sloppy, unpredictable path that requires flexibility, courage, and a dogged refusal to quit. Not a refusal to listen and adjust and bend as required and recommended. Those traits are the hallmark of an adult mind. But a steadfast refusal to quit.
A good friend of mine has a phrase that I’ve come to like more and more. He says “Carpe Griceus!” which means “Seize the Gray!” – those areas of reflection, deeper thought, and, yes, compromise, where most reasonable people can function with sufficient success to feel satisfied that they’ve done the best they can. The world isn’t black or white (and I’m referencing the notion of absolutes, not racial distinctions); it’s a million shades of gray.
I’m not talking about abandoning your core beliefs. I’m suggesting that all sides at least listen to opposing perspectives. Chances are that reasonable people can find enough commonality to arrive at an answer that respects all parties. You’re not going to score a slam dunk every time. The object of the game is not to humiliate your opponent. It should be to do what’s best for your constituents by productively and positively working together.
On Tuesday, your candidates may have won. If so, congratulations. You have 24 hours to gloat and celebrate. If your candidates lost, that’s a shame. You have 24 hours to sulk and complain. But once that time’s up, we all should face the new reality of who’s in office, and insist that they – every last one of them, from the White House to your local municipality – work with a single objective before them at all times. Do what’s best for the people you represent. And I mean ALL of the people you represent, no matter party affiliation, income level, zip code, gender, sexual orientation, age, or whether they like Coke or Pepsi.
This is still a representative republic. Elected officials work for all of us, whether they received our individual vote or not. That’s the standard by which they need to be evaluated. Check your Constitution. It’s all in there.
Our nation faces so many crucial tests, both here at home and around the world. For far too long, it feels like the country has been rent in two by leaders and citizens thinking and behaving and shouting and battling in absolutes. Can’t we shift our attitude, and put Americans first? Can’t we operate like the adults we really are, once the political trappings have been tossed aside? Can’t we see and implement workable solutions in the vast areas available between polar opposite viewpoints?
My hope and prayer today, and every day from this point forward, is that we find a way to do those things with greater energy and joy and success.
America, Carpe Griceus.
Copyright 2012 Tim Hayes Consulting