From: Chancellor’s Office
Date: Nov 9, 2016 10:50 AM
Subject: A reflection on yesterday’s election
In the early hours of the morning, for those of us who were still awake, we witnessed the beginning of the democratic transition of the presidency. The campaigns leading to last night’s outcome have been exhausting, emotional, divisive, and by all conventional measures, hard to predict – but here we are.
The next few days the airwaves and the twittersphere will be filled with second-guessing and political what ifs and if onlys. These questions and discussions will inform the next election cycle – which begins almost immediately. While interesting and informative, the real questions and discussions must center on what does this election mean, how do we not lose momentum on important issues, how do we address the deep divides of race, gender, class, and culture that have been further magnified throughout the campaign.
We must remember that our system of democratic government is strong and resilient and we as a nation, as a republic, must get to work healing the rifts that have been laid wide open. As part of our democratic process we vote as individuals, hopeful that our candidate and our ideals will prevail – the result of our collective votes, however, may leave us saddened, elated, fearful, or hopeful and a president-elect must now set a tone that pivots from the rhetoric of the campaign to the profound responsibility of leading and governing.
Like many of you who stayed up late into the morning to see the results, I am a bit tired and processing how I feel and what I think. I do believe that as imperfect as our democracy is, it is still the best system that we have and I know that UNC Asheville has an important role to play in preparing the next generation of citizens, leaders, and difference makers for that democracy. UNC Asheville – that means all of us – has a responsibility to dig deep, to rise to the challenges ahead – I’m reminded of our motto “Levo Oculos Meos In Montes” – I lift my eyes to the mountains – prescient words. Let us raise our eyes up and look ahead to the work and the opportunities, but let us also keep our feet planted firmly on the ground; we must listen to differing viewpoints, realities, and perspectives as we seek common cause.
It may not be easy, but it is essential.
Mary K. Grant, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina at Asheville