What if Your Candidate Loses?
Imagine, for a moment, the presidential candidate you do not support emerges victorious once the dust settles from this election. Then take a deep breath and realize life goes on. The world isn’t going to end. The rhetoric employed by both sides is a tactic to produce emotional responses — fear and anger — to motivate you to vote, influence your friends, and contribute to their political machines. Most of it is bullshit.
The last thing you should do right now is cut off your friends and family who may fall on a different side of the political spectrum. The future of our country depends on us being able to have real conversations and talk openly about complex issues. The internet is the worst place to do it. Facebook and Twitter are not conducive to meaningful discussions, and they make it nearly impossible to empathize with differing viewpoints. These discussions should occur over the phone, on video chat, or in person — the ways in which we usually interact with friends and family.
The majority of Americans are good, reasonable people that agree on many things — like the fact that everyone possesses inherent rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” that football is the greatest sport on Earth, and that season 8 of Game of Thrones was a real bummer. We need to lean on our commonalities to help build bridges to understanding. This starts with friends and family.
A few suggestions: Question more. If you watch any of the major news networks, do so with the understanding that they are tools of influence for both political parties. Stop donating to our presidential candidates — they have enough money (if seeing the same political ad eight times in the span of 30 minutes didn’t make it obvious). Find lesser known candidates you believe in — support them. Contribute time or money towards something that will directly improve the lives of your fellow Americans — voting is not enough. And seek out honest conversations with those who hold different political opinions, while attempting to put yourself in their shoes.
Regardless of who wins this election, 2021 is going to be a great year for America. And if you are concerned about the future trajectory of our country, know that we have a rising generation of young leaders that hold more promise than any since our Greatest Generation. A few organizations are leading the way in giving them a voice and worth checking out as we look forward to 2022 and 2024: New Politics Leadership Academy, With Honor Action, and Veterans Campaign.