At Guilford College, I am heartened to know that so many of our students passionately participated in the political process — with many casting votes for the very first time. They are gaining life-shaping insights as they begin to see first-hand the many challenges, benefits and complexities of democracy.
Election Day is over and now our nation prepares for another transition in leadership just as we have done so many times before during our 240 years as a nation. I have had the privilege of voting in 10 presidential elections, and not all of them have gone as I had hoped. But this one shocked me to my very core. The last time I felt this way was on the morning of 9/11. The building I was in shook when a pilot deliberately flew a plane into the Pentagon. My understanding of the world changed all at once and took my breath away. I had to remind myself to breathe in and out.
Days after this election I’m still trembling. I feel like I was in “a crash” and now I have to survive, and remember to breathe, walk, and move ahead. I learned that a major portion of our citizenry has felt deeply disenfranchised for a long time, and they made their views known at the ballot box. While they are celebrating, the rest of us are asking how we could have elected someone who espouses positions and views that are fundamentally at odds with what we hold to be our rights and responsibilities as American citizens?
Since the 1780s, this tree has witnessed the course of American history â€” from the Underground Railroad to Every Campus a Refuge.