In the United States, yesterday was Election Day. To those of you who voted for the first time, congratulations. To those of you who voted for what may have felt like the hundredth time, congratulations. Congratulations for using your voice to decide the future of America. Congratulations for marching on.
Election day, and the two years of campaigning leading up to it, can be extremely exhilarating and it can be devastatingly dividing. Clear lines are drawn between Democrats and Republicans, between those two major political parties and those who identify with the minor parties, between people who relish in heated political debate and the people who run from it, between those who vote and those who abstain.
We spend months preparing for this day. We research the candidates. We study the issues. Maybe you know someone who shared videos of their favored candidates on Facebook and tweeted jokes about the other candidates into the Twitterverse. Maybe you know someone who feeds off of the likes, comments and retweets that follow their posts. Or maybe you know someone who turned off their cable and disabled their Facebook three weeks ago because the constant soap boxing was exhausting and they just wanted to break free from it all.
Whatever your stance, whatever your vote and whoever is President of the United States of America, there is something we can all be proud of even more than using our voice yesterday: we are all still sisters. Cherish this sisterhood and proclaim its Purpose. Hold fast to our high ideals of truth, sincerity and kindness today, and refrain from proclaiming negativity, either through vain boastfulness or insulting slander.
"Our members one and all must join in the mighty struggle to preserve the happiness and liberty America has bestowed upon us, separating any seeds of ungrounded criticisms [and] fear of mismanagement...The last word in democracy is remember the other person's point of view. We are each just one part of a great group; if we work together we succeed, if we separate and are heartily selfish we fail."The women before us didn't fight for our right to have a voice so that we would divide by our differences and bicker, but instead that the talent of leadership would be multiplied.
- Delia Martin Jones '19 Omicron, in the April 1919 Quarterly
Though the American presidential election has come to a close, civic engagement is still needed in our cities, states and provinces, in America and Canada, in all communities in which we are placed. We need leaders to come together in order for our communities to succeed, and we believe that you can be those leaders.
The right to vote is an incredible gift those sisters before us fought for us to have, but the even larger gift lies in the right we now have to have an opinion, a cause, a voice. Take a few minutes and think, "Beyond casting my vote, how else can I continue to use my voice?" Here are some ideas for remaining politically engaged in your community:
Many things can divide us - our political party affiliations and even countries - but we are united in our Purpose. We are united in knowing that the work to be done in our local communities and in the world will never be complete, and that Alpha Gamma Delta will always rise to the challenge.
- Collegiate officer elections
- Campus leadership elections (Student government, etc.)
- Alumnae/Volunteer leadership elections
- Local campaigns
- Engage in productive political conversation with others
- Advocate for a cause you believe in
- Diabetes awareness events
- Donating to the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation