The Election’s Behind Us. Now Let’s Keep Moving Forward.

November 11, 2016 | Dialogue, Diversity & Inclusion, Organizational Culture

We’ve finally reached the other side of one tempestuous, tense, and surprising presidential election. After the votes came in and the results were announced, I felt inspired to share with my team at TMI my thoughts about how we should conduct ourselves following an election.

Here’s a bit of what I had to say:

I know that most, if not all, of our team is shocked and disappointed by the outcome of the presidential election.

I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to anyone and everyone who falls into that category. However, as we teach our clients during our trainings, what you believe is yours and yours alone. How we behave in the workplace, however, is of great importance to me and the culture I am trying to cultivate at TMI.

That said, I would like to ask everyone associated with the TMI brand to remember a few things that came to me as I sent my 9 year-old to school yesterday morning:

1. You may not like our new President, but I ask that you continue to respect the office itself.

2. It may seem unfair and unjust that someone who supports racism, sexism, ableism, and xenophobia, was elected–but I ask that you not lose faith in the democratic process. The people have spoken and our democracy relies on our ability to believe in the democratic process. (If anyone wants to challenge the electoral college and build a coalition to reform it, sign me up!)

3. Please call our new president Mr. Trump or President Trump. As someone who voted for Barack Obama twice, I found it incredibly disrespectful when people who didn’t like him used his first name. It’s disrespectful to use someone’s first name who occupies the highest office in the land, especially if s/he is black. The use of first names and “boy” have been used historically to demean black men. So let’s respect the office and refer to Trump by his surname and salutation when appropriate. Again, I am asking for this at TMI, what you do at home or when you are not representing the brand is up to you. I’m just trying to share the parts of my ‘good home training’ (that I remember) with my favorite people.

4. I asked my daughter to go to school and be a leader yesterday and every day. My dear friend, Anedra Bourne, gave me that gift. Instead of “get good grades” or “be good”, I encouraged her to be a leader. Specifically I wanted her to be a leader when the topic of the presidency came up because she followed the election closely and cared deeply about the outcome. She has strong opinions about President Trump, and like many of you with daughters, I was eager to show my baby girl that she could be anything, even the President of the United States. I still believe that is true, but it’s going to take some more work to get there. In the meantime, when her friends banter about the new President, I encouraged her to say, “He’s not the person I would have voted for, but I respect the office of the presidency.” and refrain from joining the disparaging discussion.

Those of us who voted for Hillary are a calm, reasonable, and rational bunch, for the most part–much like the woman we wanted to see in office.

And as such, we will maintain peace for the nation we love despite our deep disappointment and sadness.

Now is when our inclusive values will truly be tested as a nation. I, for one, am hopeful, because I know a great many republicans and conservatives who are good, kind, intelligent people.

We really cannot generalize that everyone who is republican or everyone who voted for Trump is racist. Many people voted for him because the just want the system taken down and demand change. Well, a Trump victory guarantees change, I only pray it’s the kind that serves the nation and that the underemployed people who feel left behind really do benefit in the end. We must wait and see with hopeful hearts.

The real test here is for the republicans who now run the House, the Senate, and soon, the Supreme Court.

Now we must hope that the smart, decent people who are not hateful can speak up and keep President Trump’s rhetoric from becoming action. The safety, peace, stability, and future of this nation is in their hands. And again, I know from experience that there are capable, kind republicans who really do support diversity and inclusion. Let’s hope that they band together and keep us all out of harm’s way.

But for now, tuck yourselves and your little ones in tight tonight and know that at least for the short term, we are all okay.

Be thankful for that small blessing and go forth and pay close attention to what happens next. We must all remain diligent and involved if we are to steer this nation in a better direction. We’ve seen the democratic process at work–so let’s stay involved. Don’t be surprised if you see me suddenly involved in politics in some shape or form. We all need to find ways to be part of the solution.

Sleep soundly, friends. We’ve got a lot of work to do.