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Conflict Resolution Tips and Blog

The Legacy of Trump, Conflict and Self-Reflection

I come across an article this week titled, “Comey, Russia, Healthcare… What Trump Voters Think Now.” I click on the link and read that 8 people who voted for Trump were interviewed about what they think of him now. As I get ready to read with great interest, I notice a gleeful anticipation rising up in me. I am expecting to see some remorse from some if not each of them about the choice they made.

The diverse selection by age, gender, race and socio-economic status give further fuel to my hopes. As I read each story, I find myself mentally noting who I could stand to hang out with and listen to, who I might possibly be friends with and who I don’t think I can bare two minutes of conversation with. I was particularly hard on the African American male. I heard myself say, “Brotha, you are just lost, we cannot hang” and then I stopped reading.

I sat back and took a few moments of self-reflection to realize that I had not come to this article with my usual curiosity and hunger for people’s stories. I had come to gloat and to see people who had “come to their senses” by thinking like me. I realized that 7 months into this presidency, I am already weary from the effort it takes to try and understand Trump supporters.

Wow. For me, that was a scary moment.

I’ve already talked about my friends who voted for Trump and who indeed still support him. I have friends who did not vote for Trump, but who intensely dislike Hillary (me too) and also dislike President Obama (that’s my man). The bias of my intense dislike of Trump is evident to me even as I write this. I kept “forgetting” to capitalize his name. I all but gag at having to call him the President (but I am quite clear that he is. I am not of the “he is not my president” mindset). I had no trouble, mind you, writing President Obama. I struggled with whether I should write former President, but decided that people do both. So, I’ll cave in to my own bias.

In conversations, on social media, print and tv, bias is the order of the day. Yes, I know it always was, but it seems that the legacy of the Trump Presidency is that it is front and center on the menu and everybody is ordering it with a side dish of “what is wrong with these other people?”

I’d like to offer up something for each of us and I am starting with me. Whatever your politics, let’s ask ourselves these questions:

  1. What biases do I have toward those who didn’t vote like me?
  2. Why is it so important to me that my friends and family think like me?
  3. Where might I be so blinded by my bias that I am missing what is important to others?
  4. What am I doing that is discouraging others from wanting to talk with me about these issues?
  5. How do I host and stay in conversation and relationship with others who don’t agree with me?

I value that article. I am using it as another way to learn and understand people who live, look and think differently from me but are human just like me. I challenge myself and each of us to live on a higher level of compassion, understanding, conversation, love and continuous self-reflection. Let that be President Trump’s legacy.

Here is the article in its entirety: http://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/comey-russia-health-care-what-trump-voters-think-now/78566?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=US

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Conflict and the Culture of Our Times

Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. Some Bernie Sanders supporters are still angry enough to split off in to their own idea of holding on to him as their candidate. Almost everyone thinks that the folks supporting opposing candidates and arguments are crazy, racist, idiots, liars, the establishment, defenders of a lying politician, blind, stupid and the list goes on and on.
 

I see this as one of the most exciting times in our history.

 

I see this as time when we are participating in some of the most important conflicts of our time. When people ask me, “As The Conflict Closer, what do you make of all this?” I tell them it is our time to break culture and start to move closer to each other, but I am concerned that we are missing it. I am watching us dismiss and toss names at “the other” even if we know them. Just last week, I saw a Facebook post asking for a support group for people who have family members that are Trump supporters.

Months ago, this particular blog was dedicated to the idea that each of us probably knows someone who supports Donald Trump and, in fact, some of you reading this support him. Just as many of you reading this are Hillary supporters and Bernie Sanders hold outs, you are all welcome here, because this is what I mean by… we are in the most exciting times. No matter what your views are I believe that underneath it all, we are saying the same thing.
 

The status quo, business as usual, government as it is needs to change significantly.

 

How it is being said, what people hear when it is being said, what are people’s stories and reasons, beliefs, fears, prejudices (we all have them) and circumstances are all opportunities for us to learn from one another if we are brave enough to reach out. That is what breaking culture is about for me. Breaking the culture of dismissing, labeling, ridiculing, ignoring, seeing no value in the different, the opposing argument, “the enemy.”

I am no patriot, but now more than ever is the time to come to the aid of our country.
 

We must find a way to seek each other out and listen beneath the rhetoric to the why and begin to work together toward the how.

 

To find out more about breaking culture, check me out at www.psychologytoday.com/blog/breaking-culture.