By James Hyde, DPC Coach in California, USA
This year has been challenging on many levels. In America, we had the highly contested presidential election that pulled at the fabric of many societal and institutional values. This past June I was called back into military service to assist the California Army National Guard with deploying over 16,000 soldiers to California’s streets. The mission was to protect the cities from arsonists and looters, while assisting law enforcement with the goal of trying to maintain orderly and peaceful demonstrations.
The Past Revisits Us:
Today, America lives with the past sins of slavery daily. The betrayal of trust among various segments of America’s diverse population is still present. America’s strength is its diversity, but it struggles moment by moment with such a diverse population. To highlight California’s broad diversity, in many secondary schools, English is a secondary language for students, while as many as 26 other languages may be spoken in their homes.
Race discrimination was a powerful dividing political message used by both political parties. Unfortunately, America has an early history of discrimination and slavery as part of its founding story. Sadly, the leaders of two political groups, Antifa and Black Lives Matter, called for and participated in the destruction of hundreds of locally owned small businesses under the banner motto of “reparations”. Many of the protestors were led to believe that such participation would create new opportunities and prosperity. As before, the protestors were left with nothing but the burned ruins of their own communities, broken promises by politicians, and extremely divided communities.
As in any conflict, there are collateral losses among the innocent and vulnerable. As we know from many past examples, the practice of disenfranchisement by one group upon another, only maintains and grows the conflict. I am reminded of my DPC training where I learned to ask myself, “who gains and is rewarded by the conflict”.
The in-custody death of a Minneapolis citizen named George Floyd sparked the historical burning embers of the past. The contributing factors of his death will be debated in court and the media for the next several years. But I know this, that after 31 years of law enforcement experience the fact remains that the senior officer on-scene had the absolute responsibility to care for the safety and health of Mr. Floyd once he took him into custody. No excuses or exemptions apply in this terrible event. We are once again reminded that for human beings, trust betrayed in the past is difficult to accept in the future. And this is where America stands today on many levels.
The New World:
The COVID-19 virus and the politics of the virus have impacted our global populations. I contracted the virus in December of 2019 while teaching PTSD prevention to paramedics in Seattle, WA. Within two days, I had full blown pneumonia. Fortunately, I responded well to medications and healed at home, while many did not. The virus is real, but some of the political messaging is not. Many political policies have not adapted to the new scientific findings and the new medical treatment protocols of the COVID-19 virus.
Thus, new conflicts have arisen across the country between the small business community (owners and employees) and the political leaders because of the ongoing emergency closure orders. While small businesses are bankrupted, employees unemployed, and communities live under ongoing “stay at home” orders, many politicians have been captured on camera violating their own directives. This of course erodes the perishable commodity of public trust.
The global economic impact of the COVID-19 virus has led many nations into a new type of recession. As my good friend Kevin, a former CEO and CFO of several Canadian corporations told me several months ago, “we are now faced with the real possibility of slipping into a world depression”. History tells us that when nations face major economic challenges, they implode from within or attack other perceived enemies as a means to politically survive.
So where do we go from here? The DPC methodology is a proven model of opening the dialogue between two or more warring factions with the goal of brokering a peaceful resolution. In the first month of 2021, the transfer of political power will occur with the inauguration of a new American president. It is our hope as a country that we can begin the healing process. Diversity, politics, Covid-19, and economic challenges will still be the main issues of the coming year.
DPC can lead us to a higher level of trust and equity around the globe. As I wait for a shuttle bus at a Dallas TX Airport to visit my daughter and 4-year-old grandson, I reflect on this past year’s challenges and the coming year’s possibilities. At the end of the day, we must all find a way forward to build a “New World” for our families, communities, and globe. With the knowledge of the DPC community and methodology, I am encouraged and committed.
Storming of the Capitol, January 2021. Photo by tasnimnews.com