Okay, so this week was the presidential election and I think I stand for a lot of people when I say that it is FINALLY over. Or so we thought. Tuesday after work I went and voted. (Fun Fact: I have been eligible to vote in the last three presidential elections in which I have been a registered voter in three different states). Anyway, I did my civic duty as an American. And no, I am not here to tell you who I voted for or anything of that matter.
Tuesday night I gathered with my coworkers, who are some of my best friends, for some drinks and snacks as we gathered around the TV to see the polling results. I knew my views differed from those around me, but I bit my tongue.
Throughout the election process I take pride in the fact that I have kept my political opinions to myself. Tuesday, it was hard. Wednesday at work was even harder, but I did it. Why?
Your political opinion is yours. It shouldn’t be shared with others or at least that’s how my parents raised me. The reason we vote in private is because that’s what it is, PRIVATE.
With social media and the fact that us humans feel the need to share everything (yes even newborn babies with placenta still on them) with the rest of the world is concerning. There is a time and a place; plenty of my friends have shared their political views (and placenta babies) on my timeline the last few months. And let me tell you, not one radical post about either candidate made me change my mind since the primary election.
Politics do not belong in the work place. The beauty of this country is that we are all entitled to our own opinions -- we are allowed to disagree and that is fine. But something I have noticed is that when you bring politics (or religion) to work, it has created a hostile environment. And also, if you aren't working at on a campaign or in a role that directly deals with politics, why are you talking about politics at work in the first place?
One of the saddest things I have noticed lately is the fact that no one can debate in a mature manner. This goes for both presidential candidates. I mean, no wonder America is divided and distraught right now. If you can’t have a mature conversation with someone who sees things differently than you, then do us all a favor and keep your opinions to yourself.
Another tip for professionals: watch what you post, because it is out there forever. Think twice before you type that Facebook status calling Secretary Clinton a criminal or President-Elect Donald Trump a racist. Those posts live FOREVER on the internet, and you can't take them back.
As my friend Chris Yandle often says, “Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequence, don’t let 140 characters cost you a six-figure salary.”
I will leave you with this: now, more than ever we need to unite as one nation. The world is a scary place, and we cannot protect ourselves from outside threats if we cannot stand together and defend our country. The United States will change in the next four years, just as it has changed in the last four years, and in the four years before that. That is what makes our country so beautiful.
I beg you all to see the good in your fellow countrymen and women. Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. Make sure to thank those who have served to keep us free and allow us to have a voice in our democracy and vote.
God Bless America