JJ the Diplomat

**Blogging while watching The West Wing. Jed Bartlett gives me all the feels.**

Most of you that know me know I'm not a very political person. Never have been. I didn't grow up in a political household where we talked about our democratic process, candidates or policies. In fact, this election was my first time voting. I never had the inclination to. I just want everyone to be happy and get along. I know I live in a fantasy world, but hey! It's my fantasy world so leave me alone. :)

I'm more of a 'Devil's Advocate'.  This is why it's so hard for me to get behind an issue or a candidate because I always see the other point of view. And believe me, this drives Kyle nuts! I'm always looking at the other side, trying to understand the other side - because there ALWAYS is another side. Another lens to look through. I'm not sure if this is a fault of mine or if more people should be like this, but it is what it is.

So after a week of reading plenty of articles, watching thousands of videos, listening to many stories, engaging in intellectual conversations with some really smart people and hours of reflection - I finally have gathered my thoughts on this election. And it has nothing to do with politics...it has to do with being human.

We have some tough conversations at Google about diversity, inclusion, race, social issues, etc. (Which I really appreciate and has made me a better person). When we sit down to engage with each other we always establish some basic rules. I think these rules could also be applied while talking about politics. These rules are to encourage a safe, courageous space to be able to speak freely and to be able to come to a common ground.

1. Always assume good intent - I might be a little naive when it comes to this, but I always assume everyone is coming from a place of good. No matter who you voted for, you voted because you want this county to be better. You did something about it. That is a good place.
2. Speak YOUR truth - Everyone has their opinion and that is fine - It's what makes the world go around. But please don't speak on someone else's behalf which you know nothing about. Every experience in your life is what makes you, YOU. You cannot speak to someone else's experiences.
3. Empathize and Listen - Stop trying to persuade everyone to think you're right. That isn't going to help. Instead, try to understand. "Courage is what is take to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." - Winston Churchill
4. Consider the impact of your words on others - This one is really hard.  Especially when you are extremely passionate about something. I believe in the first amendment but I also believe you should be mindful of how people are feeling.

Not going to lie, it's not easy following these rules when you are talking to someone that makes your blood boil. It's definitely a test of character. But if everyone just tried a little harder, maybe the world would be a better place?

No matter your beliefs or views, I hope everyone is taking care of themselves. Take care of your mental health. It is imperative to have healthy conversations. Whether you go to church and pray, go to yoga and meditate or go see a therapist - TAKE CARE OF YOUR EMOTIONAL SELF.

Hey - remember that one time the Cubs won the world series?? That was pretty cool.



PS - I promise next post will be WAY less serious and WAY more pictures. :)


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