Related: Political Issues, Politics

America, You Have One Job: VOTE!


I’m sitting in a hotel room 4,000 miles away thinking of you, America.  I came to Barcelona for a conference to learn about opportunities for Trinity students to participate in study abroad programs in greater numbers, and with more funding.  But from the minute we landed this morning and I disembarked into an airport teeming with thousands of people all speaking different languages and reflecting the cultures of the world, my thoughts have been “back home” with the United States and the statement we must make to the world in the mid-term election that is happening on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

I want our Trinity students to be able to study abroad in a world that still respects America.  I want our students to be welcomed into other nations as signs and symbols of the great diversity of the United States, of our promise of equal opportunity and justice, of our values of freedom and compassion and hope for the future of human society.  I shudder to think of what the world actually thinks about America today, about a nation that is so tarnished by hatred, by xenophobia, by political corruption and a leader who seems truly mad on too many occasions.

Once upon a time the United States embraced this vast village of the world’s peoples with wide open arms and zest as the most influential nation in world history.  Our grandparents and great-grands and more distant ancestors all were immigrants from these countries, unless they were part of the Native American diaspora — or unless they were forced to come to the U.S. in the holds of slave ships, an inescapably sorrowful and heinous truth of our national diversity.  Even with the evil of slavery and so many episodes of cruel nationalism and hatred directed toward “the other” over the years, the U.S. became a great nation precisely because of the great diversity of nations and cultures and perspectives and talents that comprise “We, the People” — and because our national heart grew with that diversity, even through the most troubled and regressive times.

From the U.S., millions of soldiers and sailors and military personnel from all walks of life came to fight for freedom in Europe, in the Pacific, in the Middle East, in Asia, in Africa, in some of the world’s most troubled places.  We once were champions for global freedom, peace and justice for all of the world’s peoples.  We led formation of NATO, the UN, and other major movements for peace and security throughout the world.  We created the Peace Corps and devoted billions to humanitarian relief.

But now we send troops to the Texas border to keep out the “least, the lost, the left out among us,” a tattered band of the poor of this earth walking thousands of miles to try to find some small hope, some modest relief from lives of oppression.  Our president speaks of them as if they are evil demons, not suffering human beings.

“Not here!” bellows the current president.  We’re sending 15,000 troops to keep out a few thousand helpless, hapless refugees.  “If you throw rocks, we’ll shoot you!” shouts the president of the most powerful nation on earth, a man who thinks nothing of rattling nuclear sabres and taunting the powerful and the poor with equal venom.  When I hear the president of the United States speak so cavalierly of the use of our immense firepower, I am reminded of the saying of Albert Einstein, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”  He was referring to the likely terrible aftermath of nuclear war, but for the world’s poor even now, nuclear war is not the worst threat they face, but the cruelty and inhumanity of leaders in the most powerful and wealthy nation in human history.


Who you vote for on November 6 is your business.  But if you are a citizen of the U.S., fulfilling your obligation to vote should be informed by principles and values for the common good of this nation.

Will you vote for leaders who will advance the interests of all the people, not just those who claim to support them, not just those who take money from special interests?

Will you vote for leaders who embody the ideals of justice and equity, who will work for peace and economic security for all people?

Will you vote for public officials who respect and celebrate the many diverse peoples who inhabit this nation, and who understand and will work to strengthen the cause of national unity amid great diversity?

Will you vote for responsible politicians who have the moral sensibilities necessary to enact good laws and policies to help those in need, to regulate immigration sensibly and compassionately, to welcome those who come to these shores as refugees and people in great need of the healing we can provide as a wealthy nation, who will enact laws to stop the insane gun violence, who will put their energies and leadership talents into those causes that will ensure the advancement of human society in freedom and peace?

Will you vote for leaders who will ensure that the world respects Americans, that our students can travel and study in other nations with a sense of pride and true camaraderie with the people of the global village?

Will you make choices at the polls this week that will begin to restore a sense of balance in American political and social life, turning away from the hatred and violence, empowering those who seek to build a better society for all?

America, you have one job to do.  Vote!  And in making your choice, be sure that you are choosing what is essential to restore the health of this great nation.  Vote for Democracy.  Vote for what has always made America great — our sense of moral responsibility for other people, our big heart and embrace of our humanitarian role in the world, our commitment to freedom and justice for all people.



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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: