Photo by Timothy A. Clary via Getty Images

Stop the madness, people

Brian O'Connor
November 07, 2016

With fewer than 24 hours to go before we can put the national disgrace known as the 2016 presidential election behind us, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote a letter to Starbucks employees that outlined his own hopes for the United States on November 9th, as well as the best practices he expects his fellow employees to follow too. Schultz's letter to Starbucks employees was simple and civil in its tone: it decried this year's "epic, unseemly election" and accused it of eroding trust in the country's leadership and integrity, regardless of who ends up winning the election tomorrow and runs the country for the next four years.

Although Schultz's latest Starbucks letter spared no scorn for the shape-shifting, seemingly unending travesty that was the 2016 presidential election, he chose to focus on more positive elements about what the nation should learn about itself after the involuntary exercise in racial, economic, ethnic, and gender division the United States has endured for the last 18 months. Schultz's letter to Starbucks employees urged civility, unity, and common decency—three qualities that have either gone into hiding or were taken out back and shot across nearly every single state in the union. Either way, Shultz wants his employees to find a way to bring it back.

In his letter, Schultz talks about overarching goals: to be good to one another, to have compassion, and to remember that what unites us is stronger than what divides us. In any other year, these concepts wouldn't seem so revelatory, but here we are as a society. Schultz continues, writing:

In the face of this epic, unseemly election and the concern we all share about the direction of our country and the lack of truth and void of leadership, we can still make a difference in the lives of the people we touch and influence every day. Kindness, compassion, empathy, and yes love is what we need. It is what we must display and share. We are all longing for a deeper sense of human connection and humanity because, when we are touched by it, it fills us up.

Start today by recognizing the power we have to walk in someone else's shoes, to demonstrate understanding, and to strip away the differences that divide us. Let's each embrace the universal virtues of respect and dignity, refusing to allow the hatred on cable news, the ugliness of our politics, and the lack of political role models for our kids to define us and to dictate how we treat each other. Rise above this moment to be the person that makes a positive difference in your neighborhood and community. Be the person who makes your family proud. Be the person who embodies the promise of America so others may see and feel the possibilities that come with being an American—today, tomorrow, and long after this Tuesday.

Like the drawing of so many faces with a single, unbroken line on this season's green unity cup, we are all connected.

Howard Schultz, CEO, Starbucks Corporation

This isn't the first time that Schultz has written a letter to Starbucks employees that talked about controversial or difficult issues. Previous letters have chronicled everything from the ongoing gun control debate by instituting a ban on guns in Starbucks locations, to economic instability in China. In fact, a few folks have called for Schultz to run for president in the future. Whether or not the Starbucks CEO would run for president, it's safe to say that he'd call for folks to be a bit kinder to one another. And if they bonded over a cup of Blonde Roast, all the better.

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