• DC

The votes are in, and... least we haven't heard the words "hanging chad" yet. (Millennials and Gen Z may have to Google that one.)

This poor fellow became the face of the first presidential election in which I was able to vote, an election finalized on December 12, 2000, more than a month after votes were cast. To paraphrase a very wise man, there's nothing new under the sun, folks.

I know this seems like the worst election year (worst all-around year?) ever, but one doesn't have to look too far into history to know that our world has faced some pretty tough years, and our country has survived some pretty tough elections. "Fake news" is nothing new. The rumor mill existed in 1789 during the very first race for the vice-presidency. Today the partisan rhetoric is amplified by Twitter, social media, and 24-7 cable news. Negative campaigning is nothing new. Check out this quote: "Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes." This wasn't a tweet from 2020. This was what the Federalists said would happen if Thomas Jefferson were elected president. Thank goodness the internet wasn't around to hinder Jefferson and John Adams in repairing and rebuilding their friendship after their rancorous battle for the White House.

Elections are important. Your vote is important. Nevertheless, on January 20, 2021, there will still only be one POTUS and more than 326 million of the rest of us. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the people of this country have more power to determine its future than does the leader of the free world. Think about it. On any given day, an act of kindness offered to another person probably had a more profound effect on her day than what was happening in Washington, DC. We, as a people, have tremendous power to shape our country. Through service, kindness, integrity, generosity, and civil discourse, we can change America and the world.

At The Foundry, students are mentored to think critically, seek to understand other people, and disagree respectfully. We are not a monolithic country, but we all deserve to be treated with kindness and civility. At the end of the day, we are all Americans. We are all humans. Together, by our words and our actions, we can transform our country into the place it was meant to be.

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