The Road Forward: Engaging Stakeholders After the 2016 Election
Many Americans were rocked by our unprecedented November election. At Future 500, we spent most of the year preparing for any scenario– we did not bet on the Republican victory, but we did anticipate the electoral possibility.
We’re entering a period of profound uncertainty as our new leadership takes shape. We’ll likely ring in the year hanging on fundamental questions about our national identity.
Our future is cloudy. Our Challenge has never been clearer: Collaborate. Commit our resources and influence to build bridges toward a healthy economy and a healthy environment. The two are interdependent; their health enables widespread social progress.
Demonization monopolized our national narrative this year. Americans galvanized on opposing sides of the same fundamental issue: a political system that no longer serves its constituents. A conflict many years in the making culminated in an election that captivated and frightened the world. Now, a personal decision: Where do I go from here?
We’ve already received an outpouring of responses from our networks to that question. Some predict disaster and vow to fight against threats to their lifestyle and livelihood. Others who felt similarly the last eight years view the election as a mandate to press their new found advantage, to correct what they perceived as a government reaching beyond its constitutional boundaries.
Party lines endure, though their motivations have flipped once again. Our elected officials, incapable or unwilling to find common ground, perpetuate a cycle of destructive conflict that undermines the foundations of our democracy. Every four years, renewed polarization opens rifts among the American people.
Future 500 and our collaborators will not perpetuate that negative cycle. It’s easy to spin the wheels. Our organizational mission drives us to take the harder path. We build bridges at every opportunity. We seek success through diversity and change through collaboration. Greatness requires the best of all sides–not a perceived victor.
This is why Future 500 is leading The Earth Day 50 Challenge. Partnering with Earth Day Texas, we are driving collaborative commitments to protect forests, oceans and climate by 2020, the year of the next U.S. Presidential election. This Challenge is bigger than any election. Companies, NGOs, investors, philanthropists, and political donors from left to right must strive for systemic solutions together.
Where will you go from here? Will you let your ideology isolate you, or will you take the more challenging road?
Blog posts by Erik: