Two hopeful stories

Jeff Jackson and Nora Trotman are both running for the same State Senate seat in North Carolina, currently held by Jackson. By itself, that is not newsworthy. What is newsworthy is the civility that both are exhibiting during the campaign. It is a much needed breath of fresh air,

As reported last Sunday in The Charlotte Observer in an article entitled “Running a ‘positive’ campaign for state Senate,” the Democrat Jackson tweeted praise for Trotman, his GOP opponent. Per the Observer, he noted, “It feels like our divisions are growing deeper each day. So, let me just take a moment and commend my opponent on running an honest, positive campaign. She’s a good person and deserves your consideration.” He also included her photo and a link to her website encouraging people to find out more.

After some national attention, which brought a positive tweet from Rachel Maddow, Trotman responded with “A lot of people are running against each other rather than to represent their district…Happy our race is an exception. We need representatives not politicians!” In an interview with the Observer, she added “It’s important to have two people who really want a positive campaign and not attack each other.”

We need more stories and attitudes like Jackson and Trotman exhibited. Let me layer on one more story I heard on NPR this weekend. A piece of advice was shared from an old interview of Mister Rogers when we are facing a terrible tragedy.

The advice was being shared after the horrific shooting at the Pittsburgh temple which killed eleven people last week. Mister Rogers said in the old interview what his mother had taught him. She said “Always look for the helpers” during times of tragedy. Look for the emergency technicians, doctors, police, firefighters, and citizens as they do their best to help others during the tragedy. These people will give you hope when we need it most.

I heard these words while I was driving my car. They made me want to pull over and listen with more intent. To illustrate his point even more, the Pittsburgh shooter was taken to the nearest hospital and was nursed back to care. The hospital CEO and many of the staff are Jewish.

One of my mantras is “kindness is not a weakness.” It reveals an inner strength which is foreign to some who feel they must run roughshod over others to prove their mettle. Let’s celebrate the words and actions of Rogers, Jackson and Trotman.



7 thoughts on “Two hopeful stories

  1. Could not agree more. If only we had a president that could exhibit just a little of how these two are conducting themselves.

    • Thanks. There is new book out on leadership by General Stanley McChrystal called “Leaders” Myth and Reality.” Therein he notes that heavy doses of empathy and humility are usually present in great leaders.

  2. Dear Keith,

    I would put the civility that Jeff Jackson and Nora Trotman have exhibited while running for the same elected position in the miracle category as this behavior is so rarely observed in today’s world.

    I love Mr. Roger’s advice about looking for the helpers in a time of tragedy. How the Squirrel Hill community has been dealing with the tragedy of lost lives due to a mass shooter has been something to behold.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Thanks Gronda, the fact you use the term miracle to describe preferrable behavior is indicative. It would be great if they started a trend. The folks in Pittsburgh and Charleston after their mass shootings in houses of worship are exemplary. As for Mister Rogers, he has far more character than the US President. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: How we communicate with people that disagree with us is essential. I try to be civil, but with some people it is more difficult. But, civility and that Golden Rule thing, are my goals.

    When I was early voting, I had a chance to speak with a candidate, whom I believe could be more inclusive. It further troubles me that he is a minister. My message was simple – best wishes on your campaign, but if you win, could you please, please, please be collaborative. Also, do your best to being down the tone of incivility. The President did not start the divisiveness, but he has made it worse.

    He did not agree with me regarding the President and said he is the most truthful President we have ever had, delivering on his campaign promises. I said I am an independent and former Republican voter. I said but what if what he promised was based on a lie. He actually noticeably paused. I said you are a minister, so please help bring us together.

    The point of writing this is to say, he needs to hear collaboration and civility are essential. He may not have heard my plea if I had not been civil. If I had been accusational, it would have been poorly received. I chose not to share that I did not vote for him, but he probably figured that out.

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