The election is over and Donald Trump is President-elect. In the spirit of transparency, I am a fervent Hillary Clinton supporter and believe she was the best choice. Now that this ugly campaign is behind us, my biggest fear is that American core values may be swept under the rug and we will live in an unruly society where bad behavior is pervasive and accepted.
Let’s look at the bad behavior we witnessed during the last 12 months. While both candidates were accomplished – Trump in business, Clinton in public service, each exhibited unacceptable behavior that was not in line with America’s core values. After making comments insulting Muslims, Latinos and women, Trump was charged with racism and sexism. His language and tweets exhibited bullying tactics. A videotape also revealed Trump’s predatory sexual behavior. Clinton was dogged by voter mistrust stoked by her handling of State Department information on a private email server and there were charges of possible influence on behalf of the Clinton Foundation though never proven. If you think the behavior exhibited during the campaign was acceptable, then stop reading now. However, if you are concerned about our country retaining America’s core values – those beliefs which help people to know what is right from wrong, please read on.
American core values are the values most of us teach our children at home and expect them to learn at school. We want our employees, co-workers and managers to live by these values. It’s how we treat people with respect. Living by core values enables us all to live happily in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.”
There are many lists of American core values in books and on the web. Here’s my take on the core values which we are most in danger of losing following this appalling election campaign:
Equality. America is an open society that treats everyone equally; all people must be treated fairly and with dignity and be able to embrace opportunities for education, economic success, political involvement, and a fulfilling life.
Individualism. This value is committed to independence, self-sufficiency, private initiative, and personal economic growth. Individuals must be in control of their own lives and be able to make decisions without undue influence from society or government.
Diversity. America’s belief to respect and embrace the fact that all people are unique and important no matter what their race, culture, age, heritage, socio-economic status, physical appearance, disadvantage or disability.
Trust. The ability to be open, consistent, honest and reliable; to make people feel safe physically and emotionally; and to fulfill promises and commitments.
Volunteerism. Belief in altruistically promoting goodness or quality of life to those in need and not for financial gain.
Optimism. Belief that everyone can believe that everything is possible and their goals can be realized.
Will these values persist or will they fail to exist due to the negative rhetoric of the campaign. It’s up to each of us to ensure that America’s core values continue.
How will you ensure America’s core values are preserved moving forward into the next 4 years? To get you started, here’s one suggestion: Make core values a topic you discuss with your family over Thanksgiving dinner. Have everyone share the values that are most important to them and commit to an action they will take to protect those values in their business, career, in the community, America and in the world. —Leslie Grossman, author, leadership coach and courageous collaborator, www.lesliegrossmanleadership.com