October 30, 2020
Dear Members of the Tuck Community,
Next Tuesday is Election Day in America. This Election Day finds the country unusually fractious and fragile as it grapples with a number of crises. The usual pre-election excitement is hard to find, replaced instead for many with unease. In light of this historic election season, I would like to make two suggestions.
First, I urge every one of us Americans who can vote to please do so.
Since 1776, more than one million brave Americans have given “the last full measure of devotion” to preserve essential democratic rights and responsibilities such as voting. And many million other Americans have rightly worked to expand the right to vote, especially to people of color and to women. Sadly, in the five presidential-election years since 2000, the share of eligible U.S. voters who actually cast a ballot ranged between just 50.3% and 57.1%. If you have not already voted, then this Tuesday please make the time to do so. All Tuck supervisors will work with any colleague who might need accommodations to be able to vote.
Second, in the time ahead I encourage all of us to exercise our capacity for empathy.
We are not all going to vote for the same candidates. There will likely be a wide range of post-election thoughts and feelings here in our Tuck community and far beyond. Some issues that matter deeply to you may matter less so to others – and vice versa. Regardless of for whom you vote and what you end up thinking and feeling about the election, scores of millions of Americans will have voted differently and will be thinking and feeling differently. If America is to somehow build past today’s fractiousness and fragility, we need to start with more effort to understand our political differences. Our trusting learning community at Tuck is uniquely positioned for these efforts – in our classes and in many other settings like our small-group dinners.
The United States faces enormous challenges, regardless of who wins the White House and which party controls Congress. The odds of meeting these challenges will improve if more people can empathize with the diverse experiences, ideas, and aspirations of others whose political views differ from their own. To empathize is not to relinquish your vote, or your sense of ethics and morals, or your policy preferences. To empathize is to exert effort to understand differences, even while those differences remain. That understanding is immensely important, for from it can spring at least some common ground upon which a better tomorrow can be built.
Thanks very much. Enjoy a restful weekend.
Dartmouth has formed a high-level task force to plan for and manage possible disruptions related to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, monitor federal and state recommendations, implement guidance, and communicate with our community.