Dear Bowdoin neighbors,
On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, you have a prodigious opportunity to exercise a precious and fragile right that we have as Americans. Your privilege to vote was made possible by hundreds of thousands of men and women that gave “the last full measure of devotion” to protect the freedoms that I treasure more than life itself. Our country is still one of the greatest experiments in history, yet it can still fail if you don’t take an active role. It is now your turn to lead our nation into the future. I pray and have hope that you will do a better job than we did.
One of my favorite quotes is by Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” In my 65 years, I have learned that one person can change the world. Bowdoin students and graduates are famous for it. Again, you must act. Your vote will make a difference, and you will participate in a process that is very rare and admired across the world. I have been heartened to see so many students registering to vote as I walk my dog across campus.
As you enter the polling center or, even better, as you vote early by absentee ballot, please think about two things. First, believe me that you are changing the world. Second, remember the brave Americans who made this possible for you. I urge you to visit the memorials across campus that honor Bowdoin veterans who gave their lives to ensure your freedom, including the ability to vote. Visualize their names chiseled into the granite.
They have done you proud. You have the greatest opportunity in the world to thank them for their sacrifice by voting. To quote Abraham Lincoln in my favorite speech: “…we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Thank you for your time and for all that you do to help make our community a special and vital one.