Regardless of Outcome, Elect to Show Kindness and Respect

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I remember pushing and shoving. I remember wrestling around in the dirt and the swinging of clenched fists. I remember our second grade teacher, Miss Long, pulling us apart, but I don’t remember much more than that. I know it was a fall afternoon, and we were on the dirt baseball field, and it was 1964.

In short, I had been in a scuffle with another student whose identity long ago escaped me. But I do remember what caused our brawl: He was wearing the campaign pin of one presidential candidate, and I was wearing the pin of the other candidate. I doubt, at the tender age of 6 or 7, we understood anything about campaign platforms, the fate of the country, how elections work or anything else. My memory is that my parents made me wear the campaign button to school. 

You could say that on that day the campaign pins identified us, but at that age, they certainly didn’t define us. Who we support in an election identifies us, but it doesn’t necessarily define us. It certainly indicates something about how we see the world, but each of us holds complex thoughts, beliefs and ideals that defy easy categorization into one, neat box. And perhaps therein lies a lesson for how we treat each other after this year’s presidential election. 

As we experience Election Day and the days that follow, let’s remember to practice our core value of kindness and respect in all we do. Let’s add our equally important core value of respecting a diversity of thought and identity to this recipe for civility. As we celebrate our candidate’s victory or mourn our candidate’s loss, let’s remember that those who think differently have their own complex reasons for thinking the way they do. And just as you cannot envision how on earth someone could vote one way, others think the same about you. 

In the end, regardless of outcome, we are still a community, and Flashes Take Care of Flashes. If you are celebrating, do so safely by wearing a mask and by respecting the personal spaces and feelings of others. And if you are angry, look to see the humanity of those who voted differently than you did. They are Flashes, too. One candidate will win, and the other will lose.  But as a community, our only possible loss is if we strike out against each other during and after the election.

This has been the most historic and trying year for so many of us. Nerves are frayed. If you are like me, you are feeling anxious about the future, and probably you are tired of being bombarded by all things electoral. And on top of all this, there is the pandemic. It would only be natural for you to feel overwhelmed at this point, and if so, remember that you can find help at the following resources:

You are a Flash, we all are Flashes, and now more than ever, it is time to take care of each other.


Todd Diacon

POSTED: Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 2:19pm
UPDATED: Monday, November 2, 2020 - 9:00am
President Todd Diacon