Fight, Flee or Fold? Here’s The Best Way to Thrive After Jan 20th

This article is part of our Election 2016 Anthology.

It’s Thursday Jan 19th 2017. In less than 12 hours, the Oval Office will change hands from President Barack Obama to President Donald J Trump.

There’s hope and change in the air for some Americans, despair and defeatism for others.

When I emailed an invitation to a leaders’ roundtable to discuss ways to come together in Trump’s World, a Republican friend replied, “So good to hear from you! I am excited that Trump won. I hope people focus on the greater good and not stay focused on the negative.”

When I posed this simple question on Facebook this week, “So, 2016 just happened. Now what?” a Democrat friend retorted, “Um…Armageddon?

This tale of two Americas remains palpably real. The chasm feels almost impossible to bridge. Instead of using the transition period to reach out to each other, the incoming administration and its detractors have become even more antagonistic. Everyday Democrats have begun their 100 days of resistance. And no matter what President-elect Trump says in his inaugural address tomorrow, we can’t (and shouldn’t) rely on him to heal us.

His rough-and-tumble ways are here to stay. Your hopes of him ‘pivoting’ aren’t likely to be fulfilled. And our collective fate is as much our responsibility as it is his.

So…what’s next? What are our options for dealing with the Trump administration? Do we fight them at every turn because they’ve been steamrolling over dissenting voices? Do we flee and hide under a blanket for the next 4 (or 8) years, wishing and praying he does the right thing? Or do we fold, throw up our hands and say “elections have consequences” and resign to things falling where they may?

If you begin to take the long view of what happened on Nov 8th 2016, you’ll notice what Nicholas Kristof wrote in the New York Times:

“Voters are fickle and promiscuous, suffering an eight-year itch for a fling with someone who is the opposite of their last infatuation. Sick of Bill Clinton, we turned to a Texas governor who was utterly different. Eight years later, weary of George W. Bush, we elected his polar opposite, a liberal black law professor. And now we’ve elected Obama’s antipode.”

Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist

So, there’s that. This next president is one more new fling in a constant 4- or 8-year lust for something different and new. Like it or detest it, this has been the pattern of the American citizenry. Sooner or later, the Oval Office pendulum will swing back to or away from your liberal or conservative values.

But that’s little comfort if your values aren’t in vogue right now, if the things you care about aren’t being addressed.

So…what else do we do? And in an age where the world looks to America’s clear leadership more than ever, what is our best way to thrive?

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About the author

Maya Mathias

Maya Mathias is a global leadership veteran, with a life and career spanning 3 continents and 5 inspired self-reinventions. She is a peaceful leadership advocate and mentor, bringing her unique blend of East & West to her leadership development and innovation management practice. Maya’s life began with a lower-middle class upbringing in Asia, surrounded by poultry & vegetable farms and the ‘simple life’. She doesn’t forget her humble roots, and her body of work seeks to bring more equality, justice and personal purpose in troubling times. Learn more about Maya here.

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