Why do we close doors that are better left open?
This question came up in a recent coffee chat with a friend who works at an environmental non-government organization (ENGO). The question was why ENGO’s limit their advocacy to only certain political parties? (So much fodder for future posts!)
Individuals also do this. We are intensely tribal. We pick our team and defend them to the bitter end. (See my post “We all have blue blood…)
Whose your Party?
The practice of most political parties is to identify their supporters, and get them out to vote. Ignore everyone else.
From this perspective (and I don’t share it), it is better if people who support another party, don’t vote. And, as you can imagine there are many tactics used to suppress the vote.
It is no wonder there is so much cynicism around politics and politicians.
Business groups align with their party. Environmental, social and labour organizations also pick their parties. While they may not be directly linked, they work very hard to get a specific outcome in an election. All in the hopes they can work together with their friends for the next four years. If they do not get their hoped-for outcome, then they work against.
The sum of all the parts of this equation equals conflict. It leaves the people divided and bitter.
So, why not invest in solid and respectful relationships with all political parties and organizations? Doesn’t this free us up to consider our best option at election time without all the confusing meta-narratives of political operatives and the editorialists? In addition, wouldn’t we, and our cause, have the best chance to successfully move forward, no matter the political outcome?
Certainly, some people think it would be a waste of time to give me a call based on my political affiliation. But when they do, they find the experience to be quite the opposite. In most cases, we have more to talk about.
We create conflict where none needs to exist, and then we train people to perpetuate it. We do not all have to agree all the time. But, lets remove the conflict and confrontation. And, not write-off people and organizations before even considering them.
Call them in Adam!
A friend of mine, who works alongside me everyday says, “Don’t call them out Adam, call them in!”
Such good advice.
By leaving doors open and building relationships across the spectrum, we open up our options, create leverage points and new angles. We take nothing for granted and no matter who is in government, president of the business group or executive director of the social/environmental group, we cover all our bases.
Let’s work to advance our ideas, problems and solutions because they are an idea, a problem or a solution worth advancing.
Let’s make elections an exchange of ideas, rather than a struggle for power.
So this is me, heeding the advice, keeping the doors wide open and calling you all in.