Back in my coaching days, I used to say, “If everybody’s a winner, nobody’s a winner.” What I meant was this: football is a competition and there are — by definition — winners and losers.
In today’s political spectrum it seems like everyone is losing.
Last week I tried to highlight some good stuff about our president. I thought this would be a fair way to justify my criticisms in the past. My point was this: No one person is completely and wholeheartedly evil.
I cited Hitler, and how he was an avid dog lover. In no way was I trying to compare Adolf Hitler to Donald Trump. Hitler committed horrible atrocities against mankind. Trump’s not a mass murderer. He’s just really abrasive. Some say he’s even a threat to our democracy. Others say he’s the best thing since Ronald Reagan, or sliced bread.
But here’s the deal, I wrote what I wrote last week for you. Not for Trump or any other billionaire politician. I wrote it because some of my best friends and family members are conservative, Trump supporters, and I love them, and I wanted to try and see things from their perspective.
One of my absolute favorite self-help books is Steven Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit Five says, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Go back and reread that line if you have to, or flip open your Bible to the Sermon on the Mount, that bit where Jesus tells us all to “turn to the other cheek.”
What I was trying to do by finding three good things about Donald Trump was sidle around to the other side of the argument, a metaphorical turning of the cheek.
Just like Covey’s fifth habit, I was trying to “understand first.” I can stand and scream until I’m blue in the face, but if you don’t feel like I’m listening to you… you’ll never listen to what I have to say.
And that’s important to me because y’all are the people who matter most, my fellow Arkansans, the good folk I live with here in the River Valley. I’m so much closer to you than I’ll ever be to Donald Trump.
I’m trying hard to be well rounded, to not be a puppet for one side or the other. And regardless of which political party you align with, you should be trying too: trying to see things from a new perspective, trying to understand first before being understood.
Hold strong to your beliefs, but remember where you are and what’s important. If your car breaks down on the side of I-40, who will stop and help?
It probably won’t be Trump.
And I bet he’s not the reason your tire blew out, either.
Despite what your television and your smartphones are telling you, Donald Trump is far, far removed from Russellville, Arkansas. But you’re not, I’m not, and if we aren’t careful, we’ll all end up being losers, fighting so hard to win.
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