Although Election Day is over, we still don’t know who our next president will be. As many analysts predicted, counting the number of absentee and mail-in ballots means that the winning candidate is still unknown.
There is no doubt that the last several months have been stressful. The lengthy political season created pressures that were, in my mind, increased by the heightened focus on the injustices of racism across the country and the continuing global pandemic. As we await the outcome of the presidential election, I realize that the emotional and psychological toll may be significant.
Uncertainty about the election results, and the results themselves, may lead to political protests. As a higher education institution, we recognize and support the time-honored tradition of peaceful protests as an important act of individual and collective speech.
Some observers are also cautioning that the coming days and weeks may bring violent responses to the election. As president of a Jesuit college that believes in the importance of living as men and women for others, I call upon the campus community to show compassion and courage in rejecting actions that are violent, demeaning and intolerant. At Le Moyne College, we strive to be great by doing good. Even when we disagree, we must do so while making a positive impact on our community.
Of course, our political differences do matter, and I realize that much is at stake for the United States and the world in the outcome of this election. I also believe that much can be gained if we remain mindful of our core values of love, tolerance, justice and equality. In his recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis encourages us to “seek out others and embrace the world as it is, without fear of pain or a sense of inadequacy, because there we will discover all the goodness that God has planted in human hearts. Difficulties that seem overwhelming are opportunities for growth, not excuses for a glum resignation that can lead only to acquiescence. Yet let us not do this alone, as individuals. The Samaritan discovered an innkeeper who would care for the man; we too are called to unite as a family that is stronger than the sum of small individual members.”
With Pope Francis, I call upon us to remain united even as we work through important differences. While difficult days may lie ahead, I have faith in the individuals who make up the Le Moyne community to care for each other, to act as servant-leaders for the good of each other and to respect the dignity and humanity of each other. I have faith that, as a country, we will come together as one as we build a future founded upon hope and unity.
Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.