Yesterday was encouraging…

I was able to catch some of the inauguration yesterday.  I was more emotionally moved by this event than any presidential inauguration I can remember.  Words of encouragement, unity, and the challenge ahead felt right, timely, meaningful, and uplifting. 

But I was also challenged.  

The political pendulum has often swung hard with a presidential election.  But it seems now, more than ever, those swings are overly-dramatic, and as the last four years have shown us, can be costly to the soul of our nation. 

I woke this morning with a conviction: as we begin to move the pendulum leftward, perhaps back towards the center or beyond, I believe it will be so very important for those of us who are encouraged by this directional move to remember – those who vehemently disagree with this direction are our neighbors, our friends, our family, and fellow Americans.

For the vast majority of those who supported the rightward move over the last four years, they had in mind what they thought was best for our country.  They believed with their heart and soul that President Trump was moving us in the right/correct direction.  Regardless of how strongly I may disagree with that sentiment, I must remember that we are all in this together, and “they” are not my opponent, they are my partner in this experiment. 

I believe the one thing that has the potential to move us away from the right vs. left strife in this country is better communication.  And I believe that must start with me, doing my best to remember that those who think differently than I are not to be beaten, conquered, or quieted down. Rather, they must be acknowledged, listened to, actually heard, and engaged. 

I am hopeful that we can communicate well enough going forward to find common ground.  I certainly understand that there are a few, and I hope a very few, that are willing to throw away the future of our country for a shot at “their side” winning. 

We must be ever vigilant to watch for anything that truly threatens our democracy.  But…we MUST be willing to listen, to hear, to consider, and to communicate.  

Dare I say – our very future depends on it.

A View from the Balcony

For the last few months, I have been writing about our current political conditions.  More specifically, I have expressed my concern for our nation’s future, if President Trump were to be reelected.  It looks as if we will have a new president on January 20, 2021, unless Mr. Trump does the unthinkable, and fights to remain in office as an unfaithful president.  

I feel like it’s time for me to step back from this rather contentious topic and take a broader, perhaps more hopeful look around.  To use a phrase that Tracy recently reminded me of that we learned years ago from the Kansas Leadership Center:  it’s time to take a trip to the balcony and get an overview – to see what’s really going on – to see the forest, in spite of, and because of, the trees. 

The view I see from this position is simultaneously concerning and encouraging.  Regardless of who takes a seat behind the desk in the Oval Office come the evening of January 20, we are still a very polarized nation. My last blog post posed the question, “Can we find common ground?”  I’d like to expand upon that just a bit.  By common ground, I do not mean: can we agree on everything and just get along?  More specifically, I ask us to consider: can we find common goals for our future that serve all Americans and find a way to work together towards those goals? 

I received quite a bit of push-back on the idea of common ground: “We’re too divided, we want different things, we can never work together.”   

To this type of response, I say – we CAN do better. I believe we MUST do better. “It will never work,” is an easy, simplistic, knee-jerk reaction to this very challenging question. 

If we are willing to dig deeper, I believe we can find a lot of common ground on which to stand. I ask you to consider this:  think of those on the other side of your own hot-button issue…do you not think that the “other” side of your favorite issue desires many of the same things in life you do?  

Regardless of what your particular hot-button issue may be, I have to believe there are some areas in which we can find agreement. 

I think we could all get behind a safer, more secure future for our country. A future where it is not only possible but likely, that our children will have it better than their parents.

Perhaps we could also agree on some of the following…

How about more people NOT dying from preventable diseases? 

Enough food for all of us?

Quality education for all children?

A dependable, reasonably well-paying job for every person able to work? 

What about electing people at the state and national level who will actually represent us, not political action committees and big money lobbyists?

Let’s bring it even closer to home.  Can we agree that it would be great to have:

Decent streets and nice parks for our kids to play in? 

Affordable safe housing for you and your neighbor?

Less crime on the streets of your city?  

I do believe we can find common ground if we look hard enough. 


So, what is it about our current highly polarized condition that I find encouraging? 

It seems that now, more than at any time in my life, people are paying attention. 

I believe we have a more engaged, aware, and politically energized populace than we have had in many decades.  There’s no doubt, we’re in a time of pain.  But often, through pain, comes growth.  

For much of my adult life, it seems that many of us have thrown up our hands and said, “Oh well, those folks in DC are going to do what they want anyway, why should I care?”

It feels as if the tide is turning – and more of us are saying, “That’s it – those guys in DC had their chance, now let’s see if we can fix this thing before it’s too late.”

My hope is that through this time of pain, we may find a way to care for each other again. I am hopeful that the more we pay attention to each other, perhaps we can find a way to actually talk to each other, rather than at each other.  If we do this, we have a tremendous opportunity to move in the right direction. 

I believe we CAN turn the pain and strife of the last four years, and this last election, into movement in a positive direction. It won’t be easy, and at times it might be painful.  

I’ve heard talk of a second civil war looming. We must find a way to avoid such conflict and turn that energy into a PEACEFUL revolution. A time when we rediscover the promise of America, for all, and actually roll up our sleeves, get to work, and find a way through the chaos to continue this great experiment.

Not just for the wealthy white landowners.  Not just for the large corporations.   Not just for the chosen few with the right diploma, the right last name, or the correct connection on K Street.  

For all of US.

And I know – revolutions are rarely peaceful, but I believe this one can be.  

Like almost everything in life, it comes down to a choice.   

Are we (am I?) going to choose to find a way to have a productive conversation with those on the other side of an issue, and really listen to their point of view, or are we going to be aggressive and combative, searching for the best way to prove them wrong? 

I believe we can find a way towards common ground.  Our lives and the future of this country may depend upon it. 

Why I “Checked Out” in 2015


Before I post anything of significance to social media, I ask my wife Tracy to review.  Not only is she the best editor I’ve ever known, but she is also much wiser than I when it comes to things of the heart, and interacting with other humans.

For what I believe may be the very first time, she had no suggested changes from what you read below.  However, she did point out that the second to last paragraph is likely the most important.  I agree and have duplicated that paragraph here in the preface, in an effort to lead with my heart, as I know that some (many?) will take great exception to what I have to say in this post. 

BTW – I welcome all feedback.  But I do ask that we keep the conversation civil and hopefully productive.  I know emotions run very high these days, and what I’ve said here might seem like heresy to some. But if we cannot have important conversations, especially now, as our tension levels run so high and there is so much at stake, I fear we may be doomed. 


At some point in the summer of 2015, I completely checked out of our modern-day news reporting.  More specifically I turned off all input regarding politics – lock, stock, and barrel.  

I was disappointed, dismayed, and more than a bit sad that in a country of roughly 200 million adults, we had pre-selected Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as our two candidates for our highest office.  These two were the bright shining examples that we collectively felt were best qualified to lead our country? Seriously?

I couldn’t bear to follow the campaign cycle to its conclusion, and I turned off all media input for what I thought would be a short while.  Turned out to be about 4 years.  

For better or worse, I’m back in the mix. I’ve been paying attention, thinking a lot about what’s going on today, and shaking my head.    

And I’m even more upset by what I see today than what was taking place four years ago.  Donald Trump has, for almost four years now, led us down a terribly divisive, antagonistic, and destructive path. It seems to me that boosting his own ego is much more important to him than doing what is right for our country.   

I’ve been a registered Republican since the day I could vote. I’ve pretty much voted the conservative ticket every time I’ve stepped into the booth.  But there’s simply no way I can vote for four more years of this mess. 

I can’t say I’m going to enthusiastically vote for Joe Biden.  But I will vote for Joe and Kamala. It seems to be the only reasonable choice. 

Yes, I’m concerned about where a Biden/Harris ticket might take us in four years.  I don’t agree with some of their viewpoints. But I disagree with almost everything Trump has to say.  He has been so caustic and divisive that I’m concerned about what four more years of Donald Trump as president might do to our nation. 

For the next eight weeks leading up to our election, I’d like to share some thoughts as to how and why I’ve come to this conclusion, and will for the first time in my life, pull the lever for a democrat. 

If this interests you at all, I’d like to encourage you to click the follow button below to receive updates via email.

BTW – I welcome all feedback.  But I do ask that we keep the conversation civil and hopefully productive.  I know emotions run very high these days, and what I’ve said here might seem like heresy to some. But if we cannot have important conversations, especially now, as our tension levels run so high and there is so much at stake, I fear we’re doomed. 

I don’t know that my writing will amount to much of anything, but I cannot be silent for another four years.  There’s too much at stake, and if nothing else, I want to be able to say, “I tried to make a difference”.  

Peace always,