Remember the power of the individual

I can’t lie and say I wasn’t disappointed and concerned by the election results. And I can’t lie and say I still don’t have those same feelings, even a week later. But after much discussion about the results with family, friends, classmates and professors, as well as looking at a small slice of the torrent that is social media at the moment, I’ve come to a personal realization that has shifted my focus away from the actual results, towards something I believe is much more important.

If this election has taught us anything, it’s that every voice does matter. Individual voices swayed the turnout of this election. Each person has a power, even if it doesn’t seem like it, being one of billions on this earth. But, believe it or not, even you, a student at a small liberal arts college in Dubuque, IA, has the potential for greatness and great influence of those around you.

Loras is so rich in countless individuals that exhibit the power of the single person and the positive impact that one soul can have on a larger community. No matter whether you’re a student, staff or faculty member, I’m certain that we can all call to mind a list of individuals that have directly improved our own lives at Loras. These individuals don’t ask for praise or recognition, they don’t ask for fame. Instead, they go about their business, do their work to the best of their abilities, and spend their energy improving the well-being of others through their words and actions. These are the leaders that will make the biggest difference. If we could all spend more time improving our own attitudes, reducing our own prejudices, spend more time helping others, being more introspective and critically-thinking, the results would not just be limited to Loras’ campus. They would change the world.

I won’t lie and say that I think these next four years will be easy. But I do strongly believe in the goodness that still exists in our country and in our world. I believe in the endless potential for goodness from all of us. I believe in the quiet, ever-burning passion and power of the individual who works tirelessly to improve the lives of their neighbors. I believe that, even though it does seem like our nation is more divided than ever, we have the capability to overcome the fear, the bigotry and the hate. The Beatles weren’t wrong when they said “all we need is love.” Love is what we need right now, more than vicious debate, anger and divisiveness, although of course debate does have a rightful place in all of this. Love is an important part to moving forward.

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