Below is a portion of President Thompson’s Election Day 2020 message to the Kansas Wesleyan campus, sent via email Tuesday morning, November 3.
During these past months, we have seen our country at a contentious point in its history. We all know about the protests in the streets, the fear engendered by COVID-19 and the tragedies of the senseless deaths of multiple Black individuals. On another level, we have seen friends quarrel and families divided, all over political views. We have seen cities, towns and neighborhoods split – Biden vs. Trump – and we have seen vandalism, theft and poor behavior surrounding those who support either candidate. We have seen a loss of the civility and mutual respect that can create true communities, and that at its greatest, binds America together as one.
The work is not done. Far from it. No matter who is inaugurated as President in January, change must come to our country. A new commitment must be made to the principles that define America. Those in power must work together, as they once did, to make our nation a better place for all.
Today, however, I ask the Coyote Nation to remember the American promise. I ask you to remember we are not united simply by WHERE we are, but in our belief in truly American ideals, including a civil society that requires good will and respect from each of its citizens. This is true of our international students as well, as by those individuals embracing these ideals, the strength of America only grows. These ideals must continue and must be the foundation upon which our future is laid, no matter who is in power in Washington. We must choose civility, a choice that means selecting the ideals of community and all that they entail.
Therefore, I ask you to respect your fellow students and other citizens in the coming days. Some will struggle with election results. Some will be fearful of what is to come. Some may simply have fatigue. Please be civil in your interactions. This includes more aggressive behavior being, as always, strictly prohibited.
You may encounter members of the community who behave inappropriately as well, regardless of the result of their candidate. We encourage you to practice de-escalation techniques with these individuals. Walk away if you can! Do not engage with political activists at this time. If appropriate, report the incident (if on-campus) to campus security or (if off-campus) to local authorities. If you see something, say something.
If you are one of those struggling, not sure how our country can move forward and enact the change it needs, remember Christ’s words from John 16:33.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
If you need to talk to someone about the state of our country, counseling services are available through the Student Development office. This includes the “Let’s Talk” program that takes place every Thursday and provides access to a counselor with no appointment needed and available to students, faculty, and staff. Students, remember that your faculty and coaches are here for you.
As our work continues and our story goes on, may God bless Kansas Wesleyan University and may God bless the United States of America.