Tag Archives: Obama

It’s time to get to work — together

I can’t say I know exactly how I’d feel if the President hadn’t won re-election. Deeply disappointed, I’m sure. Heartbroken, probably. Maybe even angry.

But I do know this: I would not be taking it out on my fellow citizens.

Enough is enough. It’s time to move on. I say that to Democrats as much as I do to Republicans. No more gloating, no more blame, and for goodness’ sake no more hate and vitriol. From either side.

I’m not talking about intelligent, measured post-game analysis. It’s fine to look at what worked and what didn’t and learn from it. It’s the irrational, ugly responses that trouble me.

I freely admit that some Democrats have rubbed the other side’s nose in it too much. Let’s be gracious in victory.

But it’s the unrestrained anger I’m seeing and hearing from some Republicans that’s downright disturbing. These are actual quotes, seen online or heard in person.

“Our country is ruined. We’ll all be communists now.”

“I’m not hiring any more employees. No one can force me to give them health insurance.”

“My family’s wealth helped stimulate this economy. Why doesn’t my vote count more than the vote of some loser who doesn’t even have a job?”

“The President would never have won if all those sluts hadn’t voted with their vaginas.”

“I refuse to tip anyone ever again. I know all those people voted for the President.”

“It’s your fault that China is going to own our country now, because you voted for that guy who isn’t even an American.”

Putting aside the ignorance of these statements, the unabashed hatred and divisiveness is painful to witness. As the President has said time and time again, we aren’t always going to agree but we have to work together if we’re going to move forward.

Do these angry citizens who want to inflict more suffering on the middle class or hurl insults at others, including the President, think they’re doing our country a favor? Can’t they see that they are making the problem worse?

It's time to get to work - togetherI will fight to the bitter end to help our President achieve the goal of bipartisanship in Washington, to reach across the aisle and find ways to compromise that are fair for everyone.

Most of us want exactly the same things. Freedom. Happiness. Security. Good health and strong communities. But when ideology becomes more important than our shared humanity, we begin to lose the chance of ever finding solutions that make it possible for everyone to have these things — provided they’re willing to work for them and do their fair share.

If you’re one of the people who still wants to place blame or is still hating your neighbor who voted the other way or is still gloating over victory, it’s time to stop. Because you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Now is the time to come together as a nation, put country before party and get to work.

It’s what I plan to do. I hope you’ll join me.

 

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Speaking your mind

A lot of people have been asking me about messaging lately. I don’t mean at work — that’s nothing new. I’m talking about people who want to know how to have conversations with the people in their lives about politics and issues they care about.

Most of these people are Democrats who are frustrated by trying to respond to right-wing talking points. Although I’m not a fan of talking points as a replacement for meaningful communication, they have their place. But talking points should be an appetizer, not a main course.

Speaking your mind

That said, the reality is that we live in a world where talking points are a steady diet for many people — politicians, pundits, reporters and citizens. People swallow these morsels and think it’s the whole truth.

Of course, it’s not.

To be fair, I know many Republicans who want to have meaningful, rational conversations about the issues. I’m dating one of them, and I promise there are others. When you get to have a civilized debate with one, make the most of it.

But when that’s not the case, how can smart, motivated Democrats articulate complex issues in a world of oversimplification? How can they be heard above the din of shouting and nasty rhetoric that is so often hurled at them by people who don’t share their views?

Whether the conversation is over the dinner table, over the phone or on social media, here’s a three-step strategy for personal messaging.

1. Know Your Stuff

Speaking your mind

Many Democrats do this already, but it bears repeating. Be as well-informed as possible — and make sure your knowledge is well-rounded. Don’t just listen to the reporters you agree with and don’t just follow people on Twitter who share your views. Get your news from a variety of sources and know the key facts. For those who are eager to support the President, there’s some excellent information to be found here and here. As credible as those resources are, think for yourself. Read, watch and listen to everything you can. I know it’s time-consuming, but the more you know, the better you can concisely convey your thoughts with confidence. Facts are facts. Yes, people will give you their own set of facts — and be willing to accept that, sometimes, they may have a point. Find out where you went wrong or learn from the experience. But if you’ve done your homework, chances are much higher that you’ll be speaking the truth.

2. Keep Your Cool

A shouting match never ends well. You only succeed in alienating people. In fact, many GOP pundits are starting to turn voters off with their nasty rhetoric. Go ahead and let them. Every day, I try to live by the words of Leo McGarry: “We’re going to raise the level of public debate in this country, and let that be our legacy.” Plus, nothing stops bullies faster than seeing their tactics aren’t upsetting you. Take away their overblown sense of superiority and you’ve already made a powerful point. You don’t have to shout to be heard. Plus, you might actually get them to have a rational conversation. If not, at least you tried.

3. Make It Personal

Find a way to humanize the point you’re making. For example, the President wants to put more teachers, cops and firefighters back to work. Mitt Romney thinks we need fewer teachers, cops and firefighters. Start with facts: The President wants to create jobs, Romney wants to take away jobs. Romney said that by hiring less public sector workers he plans to put more Americans back to work. But he has yet to say how he’d do that. In fact, I have yet to hear him say specifically how he’d create any jobs. After you state the facts, personalize it. Tell the story of your brother the firefighter who lost his job or your friend the teacher who is frustrated by how large her class size has grown, making it nearly impossible to give students the individual attention they need and deserve. If the story is one of your own, so much the better. But even a hypothetical story can underscore your point.

Speaking your mindMaking it personal is key.You start with the facts and then take them out of the abstract and place them squarely in people’s real lives. The mother who can’t take her child to the doctor because they don’t have health insurance. The recent college graduate so buried in student debt that he has to work three jobs to make ends meet and pay off his loan. Think about it: The plight of a multi-millionaire or corporation having to pay higher taxes, or a factory having to install safety equipment because of regulations will never be as compelling as the family who pays their mortgage on time but still can’t afford to stay in their home, or the man who died because his workplace wasn’t safe.

While many Republicans spend their time pointing fingers and hurling insults, let’s stay focused on the messages that matter. Let’s do a better job of communicating than the other guys do. Let’s have conversations every day that help raise the level, that help amplify the President’s accomplishments and clearly outlined proposals for moving this country forward.

Chances are, we can’t outspend the other side. But I am confident we can outsmart them.

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