The Olympics may be over, but for Americans, a contest of Olympic proportions is just beginning. Today marks the real beginning of the presidential election season as Democratic Convention Co-Chair and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ’62 gavels the Democratic National Convention to order. Joining her on the podium will be other convention co-chairs including Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius ’70. (Trinity Alumnae Rule!! The photo above is from the Associated Press as seen in today’s Los Angeles Times)
Next week the Republican Convention will take place in Minneapolis. This two-week convention stretch launches the 2008 Presidential Campaign, concluding on November 4, Election Day.
Regardless of our party affiliation or preference for candidates, all of us in the Trinity community have to feel some measure of pride when we see our own alumnae taking such leading roles in American politics. But beyond pride, we have to also feel a great sense of responsibility to join them in active engagement with the great political issues of our times. Sitting on the sidelines is just not an option.
As students and faculty return to classrooms for the fall semester, I challenge you to find ways to engage this political moment from all angles of vision. The great issues at stake in this election have intellectual roots in just about every discipline we teach — from the current crisis of the economy, to the challenge of providing adequate health care for all people in this nation, to war and peace, to the questions about intelligence and integrity, to the state of education, to equal opportunity and justice, to the historical influences on today’s candidates — the legacy of the Vietnam War shaping John McCain’s world view, the legacy of slavery and the struggle for civil rights shaping Barack Obama.
The issues are large and complex, and worthy of serious intellectual engagement, research, debate and public exploration. I ask the Trinity communityto plan many public forums this fall as we engage the political process together.
The most important political statement any citizen can make is to vote. If you have not already registered to vote, go immediately to Rock the Vote and get registered! Politics is not a spectator sport — We The People own this government, and we must be fully engaged.
Send me your comments (click on the comments/questions link on the left side of this page, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org) with your thoughts about the election, the conventions, and ways we can show the active engagement of the Trinity community with this election.