As you know, today is Election Day marking the determination of the majority preference for local, state, and national leadership, legislation, and public policy. Unquestionably 2020 has been a year stamped by civil unrest, a public health crisis, and increasing political polarization. News commentators and columnists are suggesting that “the world is watching” as the American democratic process is put to the test as measured by the validity and authenticity of this election.
All of these factors have created a sense of public stress, disquiet, and apprehension. I suspect that our students are facing similar stressors. See the article entitled “How Faculty Can Prepare to Handle the Post-Election Classroom” written by Nancy Thomas, Tufts University and Cazembe Kennedy, Clemson University. As situations arise, I encourage you to engage with our students and work through questions and fears.
It is my hope that our country will move forward from this election and act with a “fair-minded” critical thinking perspective. Hu Shih, a Chinese philosopher and diplomat once wrote “The only way to practice democracy, is to practice democracy.” Before us is an opportunity to engage with our students to better understand and appreciate a country where power is exercised by the people directly or through their freely elected representatives.