After a divisive campaign season, when the parties spent $2 billion attacking each other, when Congress seems destined for gridlock, and when the presidential election focused on swing states rather than core issues, there’s no place more exciting than election day on a college campus. That’s because campus communities are built around the core values that we long for in our political lives: civil discourse, reason, community, honesty, and respect for the individual.
With the campus coming together to celebrate voting, those values seem to rise again, after brutal weeks when the candidates beat down each other and our ideals. And one more thing: College campuses are all about the young, and thus the future. We long for a political discourse that trends that way as well, and when we see the young casting their votes, or helping others vote, we who are older can dream again that tomorrow’s elections might not be held hostage by the way big politics functions now.
We who teach see the future in the minds and hearts of our students. So when those students cast votes, when they say “yes” to the democratic process, they remind us how much the time and space and place of higher learning really does matter. When the young invest in their future our future, we who are older must follow. Youth voting renews a democracy, we hope. We know it renews educators.
Great thanks to all of the students, faculty, and professional staff in F&M Votes who know that voting, talking and teaching are the essential gestures in a democracy. By registering or updating the registration of some 800 students, and reminding people that the polls stay open until 8:00 tonight, you make our founders proud.
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Through this blog, I seek both to express the meaning that our community of students, faculty and professional staff make on campus together and also to add a more intimate educator's perspective to the national dialogue on issues affecting college students and alumni. I invite you to share your comments and engage with other readers as we explore issues related to the greatness of youth, life at Franklin & Marshall College, academic excellence, supporting faculty and student research, increasing civic outreach among students, and providing support for students' personal and professional development.
President, Franklin & Marshall College
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