Being the Change I Want to See in the World

The U.S. presidential election of 2016 is over,  and I feel sure that the tumult will continue. More than ever, our democracy needs collaborative, inclusive governance with citizen needs at the center of partisan and governmental policy.

What in blazes does that mean? It means each of us seeking out and listening to one another, ears open and voices quiet. We don't have to agree with each other after one conversation.

I live in a "blue" state with a "red" governor. My state has not experienced a seismic event in the last week, but I have work to do as a citizen to help extinguish spot fires. I am trying to figure out with my increasingly ethnically, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse neighbors, friends, and colleagues what we each can do individually and together to make sense of the political transition we are experiencing.

With sympathy and empathy. Smiling and caring. Patience, reflection, meditation. This is my challenge, and I look to other democracies across the globe for insight, for so many nations are also in tumult.

I have the power to be collaborative, inclusive, and deliberative. This power is bigger than party politics and competition for office, or bureaucracy. It is basic to the preservation of self-government in the United States.

Listening to the world, the nation, my neighbors, friends, and family, I draw strength and compassion. They will be necessary, because citizen-centered governance of increasingly diverse societies is a change that will take a long time.