It'll be fun!
In any given election year, October is a busy one. Election and candidate information dominate the news cycle. We are bombarded by positive and negative details through the mail, on television, and via social media. There are debates to watch, critique, and pundit. The news headlines are chock full of candidates’ strengths, flaws, and histories. Late night show clips and political memes are shared widely by friends and family.
As citizens, each election presents very real decisions to be made with very real implications for our future. Parents and educators are keenly aware that we are modeling behavior, thoughts, and language choices for our children and students that will affect not only their learning, but their interactions with their friends and classmates.
This year in particular, we are also battling additional feelings of helplessness and for some, even, hopelessness. We have spent 2020 navigating dizzying amounts of information around a largely unknown new disease, and have adjusted almost every single aspect of our lives accordingly. Some of us are still isolating at home after seven months, with no end in sight. The political landscape does seem vast, but unlike the pandemic, there is an end in sight.
I often say that we are in this together, and on the morning of November 4th, those words will echo loudly and clearly. While it may take longer to understand our election results this year, we will have some data. More importantly, there will be widespread reporting, assessment, opining, debating, information gathering and dissemination, and inevitable emotional impact. We will see results about some local propositions and referendums. We will see definitive voting for some of our local leadership. We will likely have reasons to celebrate and reasons to mourn, and the angst that accompanies the limbo until everything is finalized.
Above all, we must not lose sight of our two driving forces. The same forces that have impelled us during this pandemic, but have different implications in the context of heightened political action.
Those two forces are: Safety and Community.
Safety: have you…?
Community: have you…?
**Note: This applies predominantly to schools in urban areas and/or near churches, temples, parks, gathering spaces, etc.**
Communications Checklist:Now is an ideal time to ensure that draft communications have been prepared for the community so that they are ready to go, in the event of a lockdown, closedown, or early dismissal.
Politics can be divisive and highlight our differences, but can also create meaningful conversations and bring people together. In a world where many have felt powerless, our actions in the next 30 days will truly impact the future. Regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum, we can come together in a human commitment to two things: Safety, and Community.
Be safe, be well, vote, get your flu shot, and remember to breathe.