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Why Leaders Need to Condemn President Trump’s Political Viewpoints

One of the biggest disputes occurring on Linked In is the use of the platform to express political opinions. A contact posted this New York Times article: “Trump Gives White Supremacists an Equivocal Boost.”

The post received many comments, including these:

  • “I thought this was supposed to be a site for professional development. I’m not in this site for personal politics.”
  • “I come to Linked In to get away from this Facebook crap. I’m going to do what I do on Facebook…unfriend this contact.”
  • “Such a disappointment to see these kind of posts on this site. I see enough in the news, Facebook, etc.”

I weighed in. “Trump is inflicting immeasurable damage on our country; our global reputation is severely impacted; and as evidenced by our world’s greatest CEOs who have all stepped down from his business councils, you can no longer silo business and politics. When our commander in chief – the CEO of our country – refuses to condemn Nazism and white supremacy, business leaders who collectively employ hundreds of thousands people of all races, religions, and ethnicities have a moral obligation to take a stand. There is no place in leadership for silence today. Our voices have never been more important.”

Where do leaders draw the line regarding personal political positions? And why are we facing an unprecedented conflict about this now?

A Leader’s Voice Has Never Been More Important

I scanned the headlines over the last 6 months that support this trend. This is a sampling of what I have found:

Clearly a delineation no longer exists between a leader’s company values and their personal political positions.

  • WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell strongly clarified his position on the immigration ban this way: “We are concerned about the impact it may have on our people and their families both inside and outside the USA and on innocent people generally….As the grandson of Eastern European grandparents, who were admitted to the U.K. in the very late 19th and early 20th centuries, I have an instinctive dislike of such measures.”
  • Omnicom CEO John Wren shared this: “Our people are our greatest asset and right now, our top priority is to protect and support employees, their families and all those otherwise affected.”
  • Merck CEO Ken Frazier resigned from President’s Trump’s Manufacturing Council, saying “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Social Media Strategist and ProResource CEO Judy Schramm conducted a survey on CEO Social Activism to learn how CEOs perceive their role in contributing to the social and moral issues permeating our country. She found:

Protecting the Core Values of America

Schramm’s survey gets to the heart of why leaders must take a stand against morally reprehensible positions that destroy the fabric of our country. This country was built on a set of core values that are now under attack:

  • Liberty
  • Equality
  • Diversity
  • Individualism

These values have fueled the economic engines of business ownership and economic prosperity for millions of Americans – and it’s now up to the most visible and influential voices to take a stand. Silence equals compliance.

Policies such as immigration bans that pit one ethnic group against another, eradication of environmental policies that protect our waterways and national parks, failure to condemn violent rallies that embolden neo-Nazis, racists, bigots, and white supremacists – these decisions threaten the heartbeat of America.

Leaders have a moral obligation to protect not only their company’s core values, but our country’s core values. One can not separate the two. The values of this country paved the way for our business leaders to build their companies. They must come to the defense and protection of the very foundation that enabled them to succeed and profit in the first place.

There is no separation of business and politics.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” ~Abraham Lincoln

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