It’s officially 2017.
Many have remarked how happy they are to leave 2016 behind. As I have been talking to others about the future of the Democratic Party, it’s clear to me that the issues and divides within our Party require a clear path to reconciliation with one another. There are too many individuals in our Party who are emotionally distraught and need to heal before they can do the heavy lifting of rebuilding. By continuing to give lip service to unity, revolution, and togetherness, we will leave too many people behind who know the solution isn’t to “just get over it” or “move on already.”
This election cycle has left too many of us distrustful, raw, and unsure if being a member of this Party is worth the struggle. We are the Party of the people, and that requires a process for reconciliation that will allow us to engage the greatest number of people possible in the rebuilding process.
Let’s be crystal clear: We need every single person available to save our democracy and protect our freedoms at this pivotal time in our country.
It would be easy to limit the scope of our reconciliation work to Bernie and Hillary supporters. However, greater divisions exist and are the topic of conversations being had by pundits, our leaders, and amongst Party members themselves. A few of the key areas having been highlighted are urban and rural divides, racial divides that result in no one feeling heard, the ongoing ideological debate between liberals and moderates, clashes between old guard and new blood, the haves and the have-nots, and the sexism women experience even within our own Party. The differences and diversity traditionally celebrated by our Party have alientated us from one another and buried under our collective pain.
Acknowledging we have a problem and accepting personal responsibility is the first step to reconciliation. We are all grieving the loss of the election and scared of what the future holds for our country. It is vital we advance past our individual pain to listen to one another and acknowledge the part we played in promoting conflict over the course of the last year (and beyond).
This year, I pledge to take an active role in the reconciliation of members in our community by committing to the following behaviors:
- I will actively look for opportunities to hear the concerns of others that I know differ from my own.
- I will refrain from name calling or personal attacks when communicating with others.
- I will refrain from using rhetoric in my communication that escalate conflict.
- I will listen more than I speak.
- I will listen to those who feel wronged by me and do everything in my power to reconcile.
I believe we are greater than these issues that may divide us. I believe we are strong enough to overcome the obstacles of our past. I believe in the Democratic Party.
It’s officially 2017, and I am resolved to participating in our Party’s reconciliation. I hope you will join me.