IT TAKES TWO - FINDING COMMON GROUND IN THE US SENATE
In today’s world, leading by example has become incredibly important. For better or worse, people watch our actions and are influenced by the steps we take. The challenge lies in both deciding what values we should be communicating and how to make our steps match those values.
With that in mind, we’re challenging every United States Senator to lead by example, and to connect with a Senator from across the aisle as a symbol of their willingness to work in a bipartisan manner for the common good.
What did we do?
We sent each United States Senator one shirt from our IT TAKES TWO Common Ground t-shirt two pack. Democrats received SHIRT A (COMMON on the front, GROUND on the back). Republicans received SHIRT B (GROUND on the front, COMMON on the back). Independents received both shirts. The design is both literal and figurative, reminding us that “it takes two” to find common ground.
We are asking each Senator to “lead by example” and share an image via social media that captures them with a fellow Senator from across the aisle – each wearing their IT TAKES TWO shirt – as a symbol of their commitment to finding common ground despite differences.
#ProgressLooksLike working together with Senator _________________ to find common ground and deliver solutions for the common good.
We are asking each Senator to continue down this path, sharing the steps they take to promote bi-partisan cooperation (joint press releases, joint town halls, co-sponsored legislation, joint staff team building activities, joint media panels, etc.)
#ProgressLooksLike working together with Senator _________________ to deliver _________________.
Will it have an impact in Washington D.C.?
We don’t expect the name calling, the partisan voting, and the political gridlock to disappear. We understand the factors that give partisan politics such a strong hold. We also understand those that believe Washington will never change, or that the only solution is to “start over”. But we can’t let the fact that change is difficult stop us from trying, or from taking the first step of working together.
We’ve seen how people come together in the face of natural disasters and tragic violence. Every Senator – every person – has the capacity to take this step, participate in honest, empathetic dialogue, and act on a desire to move beyond differences.
But this isn’t a challenge just for our U.S. Senators.
Maybe the most important pair in IT TAKES TWO are you and your elected Senator.
First, ask yourself what #ProgressLooksLike? Consider your personal views, but also recognize that “those people”, “the other side” feel as deeply as you feel. We can’t move forward together and achieve progress without recognizing this.
Second, ask your Senators what #ProgessLooksLike? Look for those Senators that demonstrate an ability to get things done for the common good. Will it be 100% of what you value? Almost never. But if it reflects a consideration for a multitude of values and is for the common good, reward them with your support.
We hope to see you (and your Senator) join us on this path to find common ground.
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Also in STEPS FOR CHANGE
STEPS WELL TAKEN
As we pause this week to celebrate the life of George H.W. Bush, we see a man who worked to recognize the common ground upon which something positive could be built to benefit the greater good. To do this – he chose steps that are open to all of us.
A great experiment on how to help people build empathy. Roman Krznaric talks about the launch of the Empathy Museum.
As you look down at your Common Ground shoes, take a minute to put yourself in the other shoe in an attempt to appreciate another's viewpoint.
Bringing awareness is a solid step on the journey of progress. Once started, the door starts to open to take steps that spark change. The Jordan High School Young Democrats group took matters into their own hands, charging different prices based on gender (courtesy Huffington Post).
Does your company offer equal pay for equal work? If you hire, do you provide equal pay for equal work? Everyone has a responsibility - male or female - to ensure wage equality. If you were in the other shoe, wouldn't you want to be treated equally? Think about what steps you take within your work environment to make a difference.