Election Day 2008: A Time For Diversity

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Since I am an advocate for diversity and equality everywhere, the USA presidential election had huge implications for our country and the rest of the world. I love this country today. Today, the United States has a different energy. People are energized. There is hope in the air.

The hope is for a healing, a unity to develop in this country that hasn’t existed up until this point. President-elect Obama didn’t get voted into office solely by the black vote in this country. It took many Whites, Latinos and others to cast enough of the popular vote to influence the electoral vote. And it was that working together for the common good that caused this historic day to occur.

Obama is right when he says he didn’t do it alone. It took all of us, collectively, to get a man in office whose platform is unity and equality and basic human rights for all. Today I am proud of the American people.

I come from a largely Republican family and Republican part of the country. That influence on my development cannot be ignored. I can see value to the Republican platform. However, when it comes to the issues that have special importance and significance to me, this year it was Obama who adressed my concerns.

My brother, a very conservative Republican, called me Tuesday, encouraging me to stay home and not vote. He knew I planned to vote for Obama, just as I knew he cast he ballot for McCain. When he knew he couldn’t talk me out of voting, he attempted to convince me that my liberal way of thinking was wrong. I needed to “wake up” and see things from the “right” position.

This is what I am talking about when I talk about issues of diversity. I wholly support my brother’s right to vote for McCain. If McCain is the candidate who represents his important issues, then he would be foolish to vote for anyone else. I respect his right to cast his ballot. I want him to vote. And, I want to listen to his concerns and attempt to understand where he is coming from in his thinking.

I know he is intelligent. I know he is passionate about the issues. And I love him. I want to see things from his point of view. As a person advocating diversity appreciation, this is what’s needed. In the workforce, we need to listen to those who are different from us and attempt to see things from where they come from, recognizing they have had different life experiences, exposure to different things and different cultural values.

While I don’t think it’s possible to totally understand where another is coming from because you aren’t him or her, you can do your best to understand things from his or her point of view. This doesn’t mean you have to agree. You can still understand why he or she is of the opinion he or she has and maintain your own position.

It doesn’t mean one of you is right and one is wrong. It simply means you see the situation differently. That is the beauty of this country. Everyone has a voice. Everyone has the right to their opinion. Every citizen over the age of 21 has the right to cast their vote for the candidate of his or her choice.

The voice of the American people in 2008 has been heard. I hope we can unite in this choice and help move our nation and its people forward. I hope that we can put petty differences aside and work together for the greater good. This is my sincere hope for our country, our companies and our communities. Are you willing to do your part?

Kim Olver, LPC is an executive coach, staff development specialist, public speaker and consultant. She has been a certified trainer for the William Glasser Institute since 1993 and has taught his ideas to thousands of people all over the world. She is also the author of, Leveraging Diversity at Work or visit her website.