9am – Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
I, like many Americans, have felt a deep sadness and a shameful anger for most of this tumultuous presidential campaign. Surprisingly, on this election day I am filled with gratitude. Perhaps that’s why elections are held during the month of Thanksgiving – to remind us of the unifying human need to give thanks.
As I stood at my polling station in the darkness of the early morning hours, I held my nine-year old son’s hand as he witnessed his first presidential election. Unlike most school days at 6:30am, his wide open eyes were shining with the brightness of the sun that had not yet risen. He was full of excitement. Despite his age, he wanted to vote. Instead, he watched me bubble in circles on the ballot like the annual standardized test he takes in school. He watched as I fed the ballot into the electronic machine like prize tickets at Dave and Busters. He saw me put on my voting sticker and asked the poll worker if he could have one too – she gave him a sticker and a memory he won’t soon forget.
Children have a funny way of reminding us of what is most important. My son reminded me of the joy of democracy. Above the clamor and commercials, he inspired me to remember the importance and meaning of the democratic process. Like prayer, election day offers us the opportunity to participate in something larger than ourselves. And sometimes, like today, voting is a prayer.
As it turns out, my son did get to cast his own ballot, albeit one in our school’s mock election organized by Mrs. Arrighi. He proudly showed me his voter registration card and the sticker he earned by voting at school. He wasn’t the only little saint filled with excitement to vote, and he won’t be the last. We, at Lakewood Catholic Academy, are committed to educating our students to prayerfully understand their role as citizens of our nation and world as well as their corresponding responsibility to thoughtfully participate in the process of democracy. If you feel discouraged about the political landscape or need a booster shot of hope, I dare you to spend time on our campus – our students will inspire you as they do all who visit the Home of the Saints.
No matter the outcome of today’s election, I remain profoundly thankful for the gift of our country and its dedication to democracy. I am thankful for schools like ours that educate minds, form hearts and guide students’ hands in service. I am thankful for teachers whose commitment to love knows no bounds. I am thankful for parents who believe in our work and support our mission. I am thankful for our faith which gives us strength to accept election results with grace. Most of all, I am thankful for our students, our children, who touch our hardened hearts and remind us that there is always reason to hope for a better tomorrow. I am thankful.
Today we may disagree with our neighbor on politics, but we should agree to be thankful for the gift of democracy and, more importantly, the gift of each other.
May all the Saints, pray for us . . .
~Mr. Brian Sinchak, President