Business Leaders Need to Step In and Step Up to Help Bring the Country Back Together
Regardless of who you voted for or where this election ends up, one thing is certain – as a Nation, we have never been more polarized and more divided. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Washington where the aisle that separates Republicans from Democrats has never been wider. And when you consider the implications of these vast divisions in the context of a raging global pandemic with no viable vaccine that threatens to throw global economies, including our own, into deep and prolonged recession - the future looks grim and uncertain.
Amidst this uncertainty, business leaders have mostly kept their distance and avoided taking sides for fear they may become the target of the next scathing attack from the President. Instead, they have done what big business has always done and tried to influence policy through political donations.
Today, however, the stakes are higher. Our business leaders can stand by and continue to wait for our political leaders to wake up and put the future of our country ahead of partisan politics, or they can step up, step in and fill the void. Indeed, there are already some early positive signs. Many business leaders, most notably JPMorgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, have stepped in to call for calm and patience until all votes are counted and we have a clear winner. They should be commended, but we need more of them to come forward in ways that are non-partisan and simply looking out for the best long-term interests of the country.
Once the final election results are tallied and a winner is declared, however, we will still have a divided nation, a global pandemic and a fragile economy to deal with. Business leaders can, and should, stand up to defend our political process and the Constitution, calling for unity and an end to partisan politics. They can join with our leading medical professionals and support the necessary steps to defeat COVID-19, including mask wearing, social distancing and a safe and pragmatic approach to return to work. They can work closely and cooperatively with whichever administration inhabits The White House to build and support a sustainable economic package to help our economy weather the global pandemic. And finally, they can command and restore a tone of tolerance for personal and political differences within their organizations.
Democrat or Republican, what this election has shown is that our country needs a reset. While the record voter turnout is a testament to the need for change, it also shows how split the country truly is on what this change should be and the enormous passion that exists on both sides. While business leaders alone cannot affect such massive change, by setting a tone at the top of their organizations of decency, a willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue and a respect for the institutions that this country is built on, they can create a powerful example for others to follow.