November 3 was election day. Most readers of this blog are rental owners. Most rental owners who voted, wanted to reelect President Trump. Most tenants and most California voters preferred former VP Biden. More US adults did not vote than either group. If you voted, about three quarters of American voters made a different choice from yours.
Millions of Americans have a different national vision from your tribe. How then shall we live?
One notion that has been popular for more than a decade is: “Let’s get control of the levers of power, then cram it down the other guy’s throat!” When we are in charge, it feels great to win every battle. Yet we are unlikely to be in charge forever. When the other side gets control, we can expect they will try to cram it down our throat. In my humble opinion, neither group can win an election and vanquish the other side, subvert them, or convert them.
After a decade of sharpening divisions and demonizing people on the other side, it’s not surprising that some people imagine a world of winner-take-all conflict. One impactful owner hosted a discussion group labeled “Civil War.” The smart gentleman who organized the Civil War discussion group was not advocating armed conflict, he feared it was inevitable. I hope he is wrong
Civil war scares me. In our days of inflation and inflammatory talk I’m not sure many people think through their rhetoric. People shooting each other or burning wealth, like apartment building is horrible. Only our enemies would rejoice in civil war.
When we attempt to be peacemakers and reconcilers, some people we care about will think we’ve gone soft or that were committing treason. One multi-millionaire rental owner was so offended by my plea for extra grace in last week’s post that he is taking his business elsewhere.
An alternative strategy is to imagine that compromise is not treason. When America has made substantial and long-lasting improvements, both sides compromised. America traditionally has two approximately balanced sides. In the past, true leaders persuaded their tribe that a common goal was more important than holding out for everything their tribe wanted.
Lincoln, FDR, Clinton, and the most recent Bush, each made significant changes. Each one stretched, beyond comfort, to someone across the aisle, someone they routinely disagreed with. The opposing leaders crafted a bargain which was good for the nation’s long-term interest. Since the US has enemies, whether we recognize them or not, let’s attempt to find more common ground on a few extremely important issues.
Last week’s blog post about treating people we disagree graciously generated more response than my second and third most-read blogs combined. Several readers appreciated the perspective across about 240 years of presidential elections.
Most readers of this blog are people of influence, whether they think of themselves as leaders or not. Your fellow readers tend to be movers, shakers, investors, advisors, or the power behind the throne. Some shape tomorrow’s leaders. Most readers influence the people around them, and most impacts benefit those around them. Because you’re a person of influence, please use your influence for good.
In 100 years, you and I will be gone. In the weeks ahead you’ll have conversations with people who trust and respect you. They will express their anxiety and their fears. You must decide whether to feed the flames or suggest compromise, grace, and trust. Your words and your deeds will build your legacy. Your impact may surprise you.
You and I encounter people who disagree with us, yet few really wish us ill. Our nation might be more peaceful and flourish more if we did less insulting, threatening, and vilifying. We would do better if we aimed for more common ground, trying to find ways to add value to others, even when it might not help us immediately.
What can you do to help bring us together?
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.”