I like to think of autumn as a season of beginnings. On campus we typically regard the fall semester as the beginning of the academic year. The Jewish New Year is celebrated during this season. The bounties of harvests are collected while words of thanksgiving are echoed around the world. It is a time of remembrance, letting go, and watching the leaves turn into brilliant colors only to fall and provide our ears with the crisp brittleness crunching under our feet. This year, in our country, it is also a time to vote.
Although I was of an age to take civics in school, the liveliest discussions about American history, the meaning of democracy, and the responsibilities of every American citizen to actively engage and protect our democratic governance took place at the kitchen table. My parents used family dinners as classrooms. It was there we debated who was the best candidate, which referendums to support, and how best to voice our values. It was there we agreed to protest and pray with our feet. It was there I was first introduced to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and the jungles of Vietnam. Perhaps your memories are like mine. Regardless, our responsibilities remain, so be sure to do whatever it takes to make your vote count. Encourage others to vote and help get the vote out as you can. And by all means, use your table as a place to explore ideas, discuss the pros and cons of current issues, and imagine the world as it might be, but is not yet.