Supe’s Corner 11.6.20

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We just finished an historic election cycle that elicited many emotions and stirred much debate and controversy. A number of issues on the ballot directly affect all of you – from Affirmative Action to who sits on our local school board, to those who make laws in Sacramento and Washington, to whether 17 year olds can vote. While every election has winners and losers, I think this most recent election gives us much to ponder. What do we value? What is important to us as a society? Do we believe in the dignity of each person and the principles of respecting others regardless of the color of their skin or their religious beliefs or sexual orientation or any other characteristic? Do we value free speech, a free press, freedom to protest grievances, freedom of religion, and the right to petition our government? I hope these past tumultuous weeks and months help our cadets learn a few important principles:
1) Voting is a privilege we should take seriously and exercise. In a democracy, we are given the power to make choices – something people in non-democratic societies do not have the right to do.
2) We ought to get to know the issues on the ballots and understand what exactly they mean and how they will impact us. I was surprised how many people did not know that Proposition 16, which appears to not be passing, would have repealed a constitutional provision that made it unlawful for California’s state and local governments to discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to people based on race, ethnicity, national origin or sex. Regardless of your opinion on this issue, people should know what the proposition was proposing to do.
3) We ought to get to know something about the people running for office – what do they stand for, believe in, not believe in, support and not support? We ought to look beyond political party affiliation and seriously consider whether we want person X or Y or Z in elected office representing our views.
4) Part of the political process is reaching out to elected officials to make our voices heard. If we agree or disagree with a proposed law, we ought to let our local, state, and national legislators know – via email, phone, letter, or social media. They are elected to represent us – not just a few of us, but ALL of us.
Cadets – as you get older – remember this election. It will be one you will tell your children about. Even though only a few of you seniors were old enough to vote, you should remember how important this election was to people, and we should carry that sentiment into all elections, even ones where a polarizing candidate or candidates are not on the ballot. When you are able, I encourage you to exercise your privilege of voting, knowing the issues on the ballot, knowing something about the people running, and reaching out to elected officials to share your views.