Business leaders call for ‘patience and civility’ ahead of US election, tying economic health to democracy
Business leaders are calling on Americans to be patient and civil ahead of the 2020 presidential election, citing the importance of maintaining confidence in democracy during the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 50 executives across the fields of tech, finance, retail, and real estate signed onto a statement released Wednesday by the Leadership Now Project, a group founded by Harvard Business School alumni focused on protecting democracy.
“America has successfully held elections through previous challenges, like the Civil War, World Wars l and ll, and the 1918 flu pandemic… we can and must do so again,” the group said in the statement. “As business leaders, we know firsthand that the health of America’s economy and markets rests on the founding principle of our democracy: elections where everyone’s vote is counted.”
The statement was backed by big names in business, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, former Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, and General Assembly chief executive Lisa Lewin. Massachusetts executives on the list include Seth Klarman of Baupost Group, Tricia Glynn of Advent International, Trinidad Grange-Kyner from Tufts Health Plan, and Eric Spindt from Commonwealth Financial Group.
The group emphasized that it could take weeks or more until election results are confirmed because of the number of citizens voting by mail this year. They asked Americans to stay calm, “making it clear that they will refuse to accept any results called too early or based on insufficient data.”
The statement also called on journalists to “avoid calling the election before sufficient data are available,” and asked business leaders to “promote patience and civility among employees, communities, and the American people.”
LinkedIn’s Hoffman wrote that “election results inaccurately or prematurely reported by journalists, elected officials
As division roils the country ahead of the US presidential election, Justine Lee is out to “Make America Dinner Again” and foster understanding in the process.
The creator of the private Facebook group by that name faces the challenge of keeping conversation civil at a social network criticized as a cauldron of toxicity.
MADA was started when Lee, who lives in New York’s Bronx borough, and a friend were stunned by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and began holding dinner parties to bring together people with opposing political viewpoints.
The dinners caught on. After the coronavirus pandemic struck and prevented face-to-face gatherings, MADA went virtual with a Facebook group.
The group has not shied away from hot-button discussion topics including race, police brutality and abortion.
While Facebook relies on automated systems and user reports to filter out unacceptable vitriol, groups have human moderators who can reject posts or turn off comments if discussions go off the rails.
Rather than Facebook or its chief Mark Zuckerberg deciding what is acceptable, groups outline their own standards.
“It is clear that these are the norms that we’ve agreed to as a group, and if you don’t agree with them or you can’t adhere to them, you’re out,” Lee said.
“I feel like the rest of the internet is just too big to be like that.”
MADA has around 850 members and a dozen moderators – six of them politically left-leaning and six right-leaning.
– The future is private –
Facebook — which with more than 2.7 billion monthly users is the leading social network — has been trying to shake off its image as a dangerously sprawling platform by emphasizing private communications and small groups.
“As the world gets bigger and more connected, we need that sense of intimacy more than