I had the privilege of sitting in on Rick Solomon’s session on firm culture at the 2012 CCH User Conference in San Diego this week. At one point, he offered up this gem:

“We tell ourselves we’re accountants, but we’re not. We’re human beings. Accounting is just what we do.”

As I watched the election results pour in last night, that quote struck a chord. Allow me to paraphrase:

We tell ourselves we are Democrats or Republicans, but we’re not. We’re Americans.

With increasing discomfort over the past few years, I’ve watched friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues spew vitriol and hatred in the name of their politics. It sickens me.

Can’t we disagree without division? Can’t we agree that, no matter who occupies the White House, he or she is doing so with our best interests at heart? Can’t we embrace our political differences without pushing away one another?

Politics isn’t life and death, friends.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s plenty important, and we’ll see evidence of that over the next few months as the “fiscal cliff” draws near.

But it’s not life and death.

In an increasingly social and networked world, what matters are people, not policies. Our ability to solve problems depends not on our weaknesses and differences, but on our ability to collaborate, to draw on our strengths and similarities and set aside the things that divide us.

What matters most of all, though, are our relationships. Political discord threatens to undermine them. In our hyper-connected world, we can’t allow that.

I hope you voted. And no matter who you voted for, I hope you will demand that our elected officials work together to solve our great problems.

Given the issues we face, that’s never been more important.

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