Vets call on each of us to engage and protect democracy
The daily count of lives lost in the wars raging around the world breaks our hearts. Today we are called on to acknowledge the bravery of the 16.5 million veterans living among us and the millions more who’ve passed away in service to our nation.
Reflecting on Veterans Day, Army Veteran Chris Costa found the holiday’s purpose in the sage words of Abraham Lincoln from his Lyceum address: “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.” Chris’s commentary published in the Louisville Courier Journal put a new spin on Lincoln’s address, “To my fellow veterans: Your service doesn’t end when you hang up the uniform. Our democracy beckons. Our greatest adversary is our own apathy. Our own disengagement. So please, answer the call. Engage, educate and participate.”
This week’s election results, where far-right candidates for school board were roundly defeated, suggest that citizens are answering Chris’ call and carrying out their most solemn duty to vote. The Mom’s for Liberty endorsed candidates may have listed their party affiliation as Republican but election results show that thousands of registered Republicans along with Democrats, rejected their radical moves to politicize school boards, divide communities and weaken our democracy.
The winners focused on the basics, the role of schools to prepare children to think and learn. They argued that schools should be places where children gain an understanding that the world is full of different kinds of people and many competing ideas. Schools must be safe places to learn how to discern truth from fiction and develop an approach to inquiry that is founded in respect for diverse views, fact finding and the formation of well-informed conclusions.
We are proud that well before the election the Children First Action Fund, Know Before You Vote campaign surveyed school board candidates. We widely disseminated survey results and repeatedly reached out to voters to assure an informed vote and a high turnout. The Action Fund’s efforts were not alone, but they were unique in offering a non-partisan approach to boosting voter engagement that delivered the critical votes for the winners.
We should all be thankful our fellow citizens voted and safeguarded our democracy. That’s the least we can do to honor our vets and their service to America.