Healing and Dealing

Dennis Perman_Message of the Week

Dear Doctor:

I have been in business for over forty years, and as a veteran negotiator, I have observed that in the best business deals, everyone walks away from the table slightly dissatisfied — if anyone is overjoyed, somebody got beat.

And after all, what is an election but a massive business deal? The shareholders, the voters, pick a CEO, the President, and a new Board of Directors, the Senate and the House of Representatives. So this split decision has the earmarks of a successful deal, with checks and balances organically built into the outcome.

Personally, I have found strengths and weaknesses in all candidates and elected officials, as you might expect. As an independent moderate, I have never been a member of any political party — I guess I lean a little right fiscally, a little left socially, so the loud, extreme hyper-partisanship that is sensationalized in the media really doesn’t represent my point of view. To me, AOC and Rudy Giuliani are faces IN America, but they are not the faces OF America.

As a centrist, I have had the experience of being vilified in print by both Terry Rondberg and JC Smith in the same week – the righties may look at me as a Commie, while the lefties may regard me as a John Bircher, but neither is true. I’m just a thinking person who considers it a right and responsibility not to default to the pressure or convenience of labels, preferring to arrive at my own conclusions.

I think most Americans are more like me — choosing issues to feel strongly about, accepting that some feel otherwise, and willing to work toward a more perfect union. Ceremonially and unfortunately, we need to take sides at election time – but it makes it seem like everyone voting one way agrees with and stands for everything the radical fringes proclaim, and I don’t believe that at all.

America is a kind, thoughtful and generous melting pot of a nation, powerful enough not to have to flex our muscles at every turn. We’ll do better working with each other without escalating unnecessary conflict for ideological purposes. I believe that kind of approach is more likely to please the widest swaths of our republic, rather than anybody leaving the table feeling elated at others’ expense.

It’s time to breathe, and bring the temperature down. It’s never as good or bad as it seems, it’s always somewhere in between, regardless of the flames being fanned by those with an agenda of conquest.

We need to heal, and then we need to deal. We the people have spoken, and it’s clear that one perspective will not cover everyone. My lovely wife and I have four couples we usually socialize with, two who are more right wing and two who are more left wing — funny, we all seem to get along just fine, and so will you be able to co-exist with those who differ from you politically, if you remember that we are all people before we are partisans, sharing many or even most key values.

As Stephen R. Covey explained in “The Third Alternative,” opposing factions must discover common ground to make progress, which often requires the creativity and commitment to seek a solution that does not purely resemble either side’s position. It’s time for healing, and then it’s time for dealing — we have serious challenges to address, and we must transcend our polarities to find mutual respect.

Maya Angelou taught us that we are more alike than we are unalike. Let’s take that to heart – we have an opportunity to come together, and do some healing and dealing. God Bless America!

Dennis Perman DC, for The Masters Circle Global

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