Behind the greatest adversity hides the most unimaginable opportunities. It takes remarkable, authentic leadership and maturity to see it.
I am going to go out on a limb here to offer some suggestions, as a student and teacher of leadership. But I know it’s risky and you could think “who is he to think he has solutions for the amazing and mighty USA”.
I write from Mandela country where Nelson Mandela seems to have practiced exactly what you as leaders aught to.
A friend of mine received a message from her friend in the US stating something to the effect of: “Please don’t tell me you are a Trump supporter because if you are I will unfriend you. I worked day and night to ensure Trump wasn’t re-elected…” And he happens to work for Google.
I read about an Airline that refused, or considered refusing to allow Trump supporters to fly back on their airplains.
Twitter permanently excluded Pres Trump from its platform. Facebook seems to be moving in the same direction. And they probably offer good reasons for this.
Congress is considering another round of impeachment…making Trump a marter, which could be your biggest mistake ever. Perhaps their reasoning is that Pres Trump must be held accountable, a principle I fully concur with – leaders must always be held accountable for their results and behaviour. Or some members of Congress want revenge? I don’t know.
I can go on with example after example of exclusion and retribution that flies in the face of the greatest need the USA and the world has, namely unity.
This was and is spoken of by you President Elect Biden, but please look closer and more intensely for the opportunity behind the current adversity. Let me try and identify what I think awaits you there, because I saw something similar first hand here in the home country of your daughter-in-law, South Africa.
Let us remember, hate begets more hate; exclusion begets more exclusion; persecution begets more of the same, including going underground and regrouping to bounce back and retaliate with more aggression and destruction.
I won’t rehash the Mandela era as I am sure you and other key leaders know exactly how he befriended and engaged his “enemy”; how he bent over backwards to practice what is often unnatural for us as human beings – to forgive; to treat others as we want to be treated; to pick up the phone or meet and talk until we reach common ground, for the sake of the biggest picture possible.
Our own current President Cyril Ramaphosa was right there when extraordinary leadership was on display in the early 1990’s. Negotiations in SA were at a breaking point when the two key negotiators Cyril Ramaphosa and Roelf Meyer – “enemies” – met “secretly” to somehow find common ground. They did.
So, leaders, stop excluding; start including, engaging, reaching out, talking, forgiving, explaining. If the leaders at the top – Presidents, Senators, top CEO’s – aren’t seen to be doing this, society will not follow. My friends friend in the US wants to exclude because of the perception that that is what the leaders at the top want to and are doing. There will be many acts of retribution and revenge across your nation if you don’t exemplify the opposite behaviour soon.
Pres Elect Biden, meet with Pres Donald Trump and other key leaders in private and talk. Gosh, if you are a leader of most exceptional character, even meet with him in absolute secret and not for the sake of media attention, but for the good of all your people and the remarkable country that the USA is. I know as a seasoned politician this flies in the face of what every advisor may tell you. But the US and the world does not need advisors right now – they weren’t elected, you were. We need exceptional, instinctive leadership that results in the unimaginable, sending much needed hope into the whole world that desperately needs it at this juncture. And if he refuses, so be it. Try or keep trying the other influential leaders.
That’s it. Can you and others do it? I hope so. Actually, of course you can. Just put that ego aside and tap into your Best Self. The courage and capacity to do it is there. Please find it.
And to all the other leaders across America that stretch from politics to corporate to religious to family and friendships, dig deep. Your country requires of you to reach deep and be your Best Self. A healthy and mighty USA is more important than your feeling of wanting to crush your opposition or projecting your “hate” for them on to a long time friend or family member. Don’t do that! You are better than that. Don’t allow the power of big tech and media influence to push you away from your humanity, your deep seated values and the importance of quality relationships with family and friends at this time in our worlds history. We need each other. We don’t need hate, revenge, aggression and negativity. We need unity to combat both a virus and economic pandemic.
God bless you, America and all of us – We no doubt need His blessings at this time.