The United States is in the midst of an election that has been emotional for many and grueling for most. It has been difficult to hear the contentious rhetoric of the political landscape. This election cycle has revealed just how divided our country stands in thought, beliefs, and diction.
As the results are tallied, all parties are experiencing a great deal of concern about what the future holds, angst over whether the beliefs they hold dear will be cast aside, and anxiety about whether the platforms they supported will be implemented.
It is important, no matter what we are feeling, that we remember that our history shows the only time democracy is effective is when leaders work toward consensus, and when they strive to find that common ground that is the foundation of the democratic process.
As a college community, we are a microcosm for our national situation. Every day in every classroom, we benefit from the diversity of thoughts, philosophies, and experiences. And, from the discussions that this diversity yields, we learn and grow in thought and character.
At Champlain College, we come together from every corner of the country and world to prepare our students to lead, to be resilient, and to work through challenges large and small. Our students come to us with open minds and leave us ready to change the world. So the challenge is not the election—it is about what we will do next—how we will work together to find areas of mutual understanding and how we will impact our community and our world today and in years to come.
So regardless of your feelings around this election, remember that because of our freedom of thought and expression, every day is a new day in America. The American Dream remains in sight for each of us, and we all have an opportunity to lead from where we are. What democracy demands is that you give it your best effort. Therefore, reach out to serve in your organizations, your communities, your state, and your nation, and seek opportunities to make connections, share ideas, and find common ground. In the days and months ahead, I encourage each of us to approach our differences respectfully and focus on the values we share and the ideals that bring us together.
Benjamin Ola. Akande, Ph.D.
President, Champlain College
To learn more about election season on campus, click here.