In less than four weeks, Americans will exercise their most sacred, important, and hard-earned right: they will vote, not only to elect a president, but to shape the relations of the world’s greatest power with all other nations and peoples of the earth. This right, so often dismissed, so often taken for granted, so often underestimated in its power by those who exercise it, is the life-blood of our civil society. In honor of our freedom, our prosperity, and in order to reflect upon our opportunities to better our nation and the world, we ask professors not to hold and students not to attend their classes on this November 2nd.
The value of our vote is wholly ours to decide. We do not ask Lawrentians to resist the university on Nov. 2; rather, we ask only that we realize and seize the opportunities we have for civic engagement in a time of political divisiveness. Before us we have an opportunity to engage our society and ourselves through speeches, debates, teach-ins, protests, vigils, shared hopes, and shared prayers, not for the sake of one candidate or party, but for our future as a people. We have an opportunity to learn about our government and decide its merits and flaws, to hold a teach-in at the Union, or to volunteer at the polls. We have an opportunity to realize that our vote is not valuable because one candidate wins; it is cherished because no one candidate has to win, no one party must clinch our government, and no one need be denied the truth of the proposition that all men and women were created equal.
We take Lawrence’s new president at her word: on Election Day, volunteer, become involved in the community, start a dialogue, teach, learn, listen, and speak as Americans to Americans about America.