Diplomacy – I Don’t Have the Right to Change Your Mind!
Benjamin Franklin warned us: “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
Thankfully, we all still have the right to free speech and in my opinion, the day we lose that will be the death of democracy. The purpose of this article is for us to do so in the best context. We all know democrats and we all know republicans. I don’t have the right to change anyone’s mind, so let’s handle this with diplomacy and proper protocol. Personally, I have friends on both sides and by unspoken, mutual agreement, we have chosen not to discuss it…it’s as simple as that. Why? Because our relationships are more important than politics!
Diplomacy is a combination of etiquette, protocol and good manners.
Etiquette: Rules in our everyday actions and communications
Protocol: Legal aspects of actions and communications between nations
Manners: (Sometimes considered as etiquette) Putting someone else’s needs before one’s own.
How to handle our everyday discourse
When family disagrees: Rather than throwing a hissy-fit, say: “You’re entitled to your opinion.” This is not always the case as we’re human, but take the opportunity to apologize…not for your opinion or stance, but let them know your relationship with them is more important than being right! This is in the book by Dale Carnegie: “How to win friends & influence people.” He intimated that you can be right but you won’t have any friends…and by extension family. Is it worth it? Whether Democrat or Republican, we will have a President in the White House on January 20th! That is democracy at work. If indeed there is skullduggery, it will be unearthed and all appropriate legal remedies pursued. It may take some time, so “stay calm and carry on!”
What to do in the workplace?
This can indeed be a sticky issue. However, since COVID-19, many professionals are working from home, so that eases the situation somewhat. IPIC’s advice is to instigate a directive that it is best to not engage in political discourse during office hours which, of course, negates the freedom of speech aspect, but special times call for special measures. Be sure to emphasize that this will pass and everyone will come through it. The point being that let’s get on with business in trying times, get along as best we can, refrain from throwing salt in the wound and make every attempt to keep an open mind. No side is 100% right and no side is 100% wrong. Brings to mind Alex Trubec, the consummate gentleman and diplomat. He won 7 Emmys and was humble to boot. There’s the recipe: diplomatic, kind, sense of humor, smart and open minded. His motto was: “In life, I think it’s important to do the right thing!”
Limit TV watching
Try not to watch TV – These are trained mind-benders and can and will use every trick to win you over to their side.
Technically, this is social etiquette. The Holidays are almost upon us. The dubious news is that families, due to Covid-19, will not be able to gather as in the past. This isn’t all bad, particularly for families that can’t agree on the simplest of issues. However, many will rely on family “Zoomvents” and the same rules apply as if a gathering in person…avoid politics and indeed there’s less time to disagree on a Zoom Call! The moderator, or person who instigated the get-together, needs to lay the ground rules beforehand and step in if a family member has imbibed too much Eggnog and gets on their Political Soap Box.
As to Covid-19, let’s conquer this beast and wear a mask to protect ourselves and others and stand six feet apart.
Bottom line: The United States of America is exceptional, let’s take a breath, put our best foot forward and be a beacon of hope and light for the rest of the world. Along with a viable vaccination for Covid-19, let’s come up with a Vaccine for hate and division while we’re at it!