I have a habit, sometimes obnoxious, of always looking for the bright side. Today, a few days after the election that will create President Trump, I’ve been talking with colleagues about any opportunities this tsunami presents for non profit organizations, particularly those in the economic and social justice arena, and their supporters. Here’s what I’m thinking:
Grief. Many of us are now in the early stages of the five step grief framework and I think it’s good to acknowledge and make space for this in our work contexts. We’re unmoored, afraid and perhaps depressed. Rather than attending to business as usual, let’s use the workplace to create a community where we can share our fears, appreciate our values and initiate actions that will make us feel more empowered.
Flux. No matter what side you’re on, we’re facing significant change and uncertainty. And this is always an opportunity to revisit your thinking about what will bring about change and how you best use your assets and context to make impact. Don’t just return to business as usual. Ask big questions — though don’t expect we’ll have any answers for a while.
Division. The pundits say America is more divided than it ever has been. I don’t know that this is that true and that clear. I suspect that many of Trump’s voters were ambivalent about their choice and not a little fearful about Life Under a Loose Cannon. Let’s use our workplaces and communal spaces to dialogue in ways that create more, rather than less understanding. I’d like Trump voters to understand my grief and they might want me to understand what fears and hopes keep them awake at night.
And finally, Rural. Maybe this election will give, for the first time in decades, some voice to rural people and their communities. Maybe we’ll realize we can’t continue to ignore all these people displaced by technology and trade. Yesterday, they (the white folk mostly) voted en masse and in a bloc (at least that’s what the pundits say.). Maybe those in power will think again about dismissing rural and support those on-the-ground efforts that are bringing rural communities together around a new vision and ways of working that include welcoming immigrants, embracing entrepreneurs and small businesses, recognizing the economic impacts of the non profit sectors in rural places and seriously figuring out how to retrain older workers and attract younger ones. Would an older white male engaged in this type of community effort vote for Trump again?
That’s it for now.