It is Tuesday, November 3, 2020, or E-Day as Eric Liu, the founder of Citizen University, put it in a recent email.
Just as D-Day didn’t bring an abrupt end to World War II, E-Day is not going to immediately restore goodwill between neighbors and erase all the toxicity of the election season. In fact, E-Day may not even bring us answers about the outcome of this election.
But tomorrow, when the polls are all closed, you’ll still have to get up and go to work (whatever that looks like in the pandemic world). You’ll still encounter family members with whom you disagree or your friend from college on Facebook who is still posting angry political statements.
How do we move forward, whatever happens in today’s election?
Make a new plan
Maybe you’re tired of plans, having just endured months of reminders to put together a “voting plan.”
Plans are useful, though, because they provide direction and accountability for the things you want to accomplish. Do you want to end the toxicity of the past few months? Do you want to repair relationships that have been harmed by political disagreement? Or, do you just want to have meaningful and non-argumentative discussions about the things that matter to you and your community?
These are some excellent goals, but you won’t achieve them by hoping or wishing. You need a plan and some milestones to know if you’re making progress.
This week, we’re making a slight adjustment to our regular format, and we’re sharing some plan possibilities and resources from our partners that will help you stick to your plan. Remember, tomorrow you’ll still be an American and your family, your neighbors, and your country will still need your best effort and your most creative ideas to build and maintain a peaceful and prosperous society.
Take a break from the election coverage today. Spend some time mapping out and committing to a plan that will lead to productive conversations with the people in your life. Those conversations will, we hope, lead you and your community to a more civil tomorrow!
My plan is to:
- Have positive experiences around election night and in the days following the election
• Citizen University’s Guide for Gathering on Election Night, Citizen University – If you’d like to have a discussion, get together virtually with friends and encourage one another, or even have some time for personal reflection, Citizen University has put together a guide that can help you do any or all of those things.
• Non-Partisan Post-Election Pause for the People, Feel Real – This platform, which provides spaces for social gatherings that encourage, is hosting a mid-day space for sharing feelings about the political situation on November 4th. The organizers want participants from all political backgrounds, and they are committed to facilitating a positive conversational experience.
- Have better conversations and make better use of my time
• How to Stop Getting Into Pointless Arguments Online, Wired – A time management coach suggests there are a lot of ways you can spend your time instead of arguing online. Before you respond to that next Facebook post, read Elizabeth Grace Saunders’ tips on how to save yourself time and frustration.
• Connecting Across the Political Divide, Civil Squared Podcast – In this episode, we talk to Professor Tania Israel whose recent book, Beyond Your Bubble: How to Connect Across the Political Divide, offers practical tips for having better conversations. You’ll be able to apply these strategies right away!
- Support civil society post-election through discussion
• With Malice Toward None, Braver Angels – Our friends at Braver Angels have an initiative that offers opportunities for you to work with others (or just commit yourself) to moving forward together, post-election.
• Moving Forward Together, Living Room Conversations – Now through November 9th, Living Room Conversations is committed to providing conversation spaces online for you to engage with others and build understanding, regardless of your political preferences.
Photo by Vitalii Vodolazskyi on Adobe Stock