Kind Snacks founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky has founded ventures in conflict zones around the world. He’s a Mexican immigrant and the son of a Holocaust survivor.
Subject: what we need now
Sent: Wed 11/9/2016 4:21 AM
This seemingly endless election season, culminating over the last several hours, has been a painful journey of division, vitriol and alienation for our country. It ends with America’s citizens torn further apart than any time I can remember.
Many of us are deeply shaken about the fate of our nation and our world. Global markets are signaling concern as we enter unchartered territory. There is a sense that the world’s greatest democracy is more fragile than we realized and cannot be taken for granted.
And I am asking myself how will I explain all of this to my children when they wake up in a few hours.
Finding common ground in the political space has been so challenging. Our government representatives (and the machinery that amplifies their messages) have not made it easy.
We have to step back and collectively reflect on how to protect and elevate the values we share and that have truly made America great – respect for one another, kindness, empathy, humility, warmth, the conviction that we can make a positive difference for our children and for each other, to lead our lives with purpose, to lead our communities with resilience and determination, to forge an inclusive society that prizes merit and hard work, and to contribute towards making the world we live in both kinder and stronger.
I’ve highlighted in the past that empathy and kindness are often confused with weakness. That, actually, it takes strength to be kind, particularly when we feel most vulnerable. That empathizing with “the other” requires enormous amounts of self-confidence, to feel comfortable putting yourself in the shoes of someone that you deeply disagree with. How trying it has been for many of us over the last year to understand “the other side.”
Along the night and before the election results became clear I was reflecting that, regardless of the outcome, roughly half the voters staked diametrically opposing positions. The toxic discourse made the rival platforms feel epically distant, almost as if the other side was morally repugnant. I wonder how will we get these two halves to find common ground when the distances that have been created between them are so vast. I find great solace knowing that people I greatly admire, including team leaders at KIND, and family members I love, disagreed with my political choice, and it never stood in the way of our relation. No matter how political campaigns try to program us (with billions upon billions of negative messages), we must find a way to respect one another and to appreciate our differences.
So how will I explain the results of this election to my children? I will explain that life doesn’t always serve up the path you wanted. But, always, you are served with a choice: do I retrench or do I rise up? Do I abandon hope or do I envision a way to make things better and act upon it? Do I demonize or humanize?
Now, more than ever, let’s show the strength within us to build common ground, not just to demand from our elected representatives that they rise above our differences and unite us, but to lead by example, with courage and conviction and without losing that sense of purpose, that commitment to excellence and to one another.
Time to unite.