Election season presents a challenge and an opportunity for us at Mirowitz. We want to present ourselves as a model of how an election season COULD look, how it SHOULD look, how it WOULD look if Mirowitz alumni were in charge. As a pluralistic school, we value civility, respectful dialogue, and courageous conversations across difference. We value the diversity of our community and the breadth of our opinions. Our students know this. That’s why we put them in charge of creating norms for our election season.
The rules they created encourage engagement, while holding fast to our core values. Here are some of the guidelines they established:
- T-shirts or buttons promoting candidates are acceptable as long as they do not degrade or disrespect other candidates.
- Be respectful. As Justice Antonin Scalia said, “I attack ideas, not people.” Insulting will not be tolerated.
- Campaign discussions are good, but may not be appropriate for the ears of younger students. Be mindful of who can hear your conversations.
Their rules are testament to the fact that their teachers have encouraged them to engage thoughtfully and respectfully when their opinions differ, and not to run away from conversation that can build understanding.
This weekend, I will stand in line with my son Ari as he casts his first vote in a general election. I will do so with pure joy, knowing that he was raised in a place that taught him the importance of civic responsibility. I will think of Ms. Harris’ struggle and victory, of our students’ grounding in values, and of our alumni who, as we had hoped, grew up to be engaged citizens who take the responsibility to vote seriously.
A Blessing Before Voting