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11.14.2016

Business, Religion and Politics…When Should they Mix?

When should they mix, until now, I’ve said, “Never”.  But I’ve changed my mind, here’s why.

It’s been 6 days since Donald Trump has become the President-Elect of the United States of America.  In that time, I have lost sleep, worried about what this means to my daughters and son, tried to calm my mother, one who remembers all too well growing up here, but during the horror of Nazi Germany, and tried to carry on with parenting, business and life.  After all, what choice do we have?  I was NO big fan of Secretary Clinton, and many I know saw her as even a worse choice, and while I didn’t, those who did were clearly not alone.

I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy.   I have found myself trying to convince myself that the Trump Administration won’t be so bad.  That the things I agree with, like fixing Healthcare and support for Israel, will be the silver lining of these cloudy times.  Trump has a Jewish grandchildren.  He can’t be a anti-semite, can he?  Being a Jew to me, in my lifetime, has been a blessing.  Living in a country that allows the free and nearly unfettered practice of religion, without fear, without condemnation, has been a cornerstone of what America means to me.  However, there is NO denying that this campaign, intentionally or not, has set loose the forces of hate, given them a seat at the table, and a voice, often a violent one, in our current social arena.  I’ve been trying to understand what this means, and what can be done about it.   I’ve been trying in my mind to understand what is behind the midwest’s states support for Trump.  Do I really live in a bubble?  Is California so out of touch with where I grew up?  If they aren’t driven by hate, what does drive the Trump supporters? (and I think that Michael Laguardia’s piece, What Happened?,  is very insightful on all of this).

My two high school daughters, and I suspect my middle school daughter and son, value Gay Rights in a way that makes me proud.  To them, it is their civil rights movement.  In an age where teens “come out”, and in a community where we have been blessed to know more than a few amazing same sex partner families, the thought of not accepting Gay Marriage or LGBQT people just makes NO sense to them.  I have learned much from them when I listen, even if they don’t think I do!  They also have a deep feeling of Women’s equality.  We have tried to raise our children as kind, respectful and liberal.  Liberal in the sense of the Constitution, a respect for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness FOR ALL and to make the world a better place, to do “Tikkun Olam”, healing of the world.   To me, this is one of our greatest job as parents; to raise kind, compassionate, caring children.

Which brings me to this column. As friends who have followed me on my personal Facebook page will know, I have been rather outspoken this year about my issues with Mr. Trump, from the beginning of his campaign to now.  I am, no I guess was, much more of a Never Trump voter than a pro-Hillary one.  But Hillary to me, was the far lesser of two poor choices.  However, I have, until now, chosen to keep the personal and professional sides of my public postings separate.  Today I am breaking that practice.   And though I will continue to focus here on marketing and market leadership, I’ve decided to be true to myself I will also cross that line, today, and most likely occasionally in the future. I had planned on a post on Purpose, and what marketers could learn from the Trump campaign, but it is still too raw for me. I’ll save that for another day, another post.  Today, instead, I make myself and my children a promise:

“I will be diligent in calling out hate, in protecting our freedoms, in speaking up when I see injustice.   I will support my daughters and son if they choose to do the same.”

Rest assured, I have no plan to turn this blog into a political one.  Mostly, I’ll save that for my personal networks in life and the virtual world.  However, I have come to now understand that my beliefs and liberty trump my business interests, pun fully intended.  And if, as a consequence, because I chose to speak out here occasionally, someone out there chooses not to hire me because I am Jewish, or because I will defend the first amendment and the freedom of the press when they are under attack, or because I support my LGBQT friends with their struggle for equality and liberty, or even because they don’t agree with speaking out in a business forum, then so be it, I don’t want your business, please take it elsewhere.

I started this blog with a question, “Business, religion and politics, when should they mix?”  I think my answer is this, they should mix when they need to, when your conscious demands it and you feel compelled to speak up. When life is more important than business.  The optimist in mean, when I can find it, hopes that Mr. Trump proves me wrong.  That freedom, liberty and justice for all will remain the pillar of our society and our future.  For now, I will sit back and wait and see what actions, what words, and what policies come from the Trump administration.  But I will not stand idly by and watch our freedoms wither, I will not be a silent dissenter, for silence mean acquiescence. I will speak out when I see fit, damn the consequences, let freedom ring!

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