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Election Day and the Liberal Arts

Posted by Matt Mitchell on Nov 3, 2020 10:13:10 AM

Already, more than 90 million United States Citizens have voted.  Millions more will cast ballots today. 

Leading up to this specific election, public discourse has too often devolved into ad hominem attacks and shouting matches.  Even now, as we exercise our incredible Constitutional right to vote, American businesses are boarding up storefronts and offices, people dwelling in cities are taking cover in the suburbs or rural areas, and everyone is braced for how people might behave after the election has been decided. 

How did we get here? 

Any answer to this question touches the very core of why we value a liberal arts education.  Somewhere along the way, we stopped appreciating that disagreement and tension are at the core of why our system works.  We lost our ability to concurrently appreciate our differences while embracing our fellow human, and we abandoned reverence for the Constitution and the intricate and wonderful system of government we have inherited.

As a school steeped in the liberal arts tradition, we value roundtable discussion, listening well, and rhetorical conversations where students explore and understand "the other."  These classroom practices impart an ability to see that every issue is more complicated than it may seem initially.  They prepare students to understand that the Fall runs right through the middle of every idea and person.  Issues and people aren't always as simple as they seem, and there aren't really even "good" and "bad" political positions or solutions; all of them are flawed and touched by the Fall.  Ultimately, a liberal arts education done well points students towards an understanding that Jesus Christ, not politics, is our only Savior or Redeemer. 

So today - on election day - we do some of the most patriotic things we can do.  We read the Great Books with our children, dwell in the Truths of Scripture, explore important ideas, and teach our children and teens to appreciate nuance.  We help them see the fallenness of our world and how brokenness has touched every person and idea.  We read our Nation's founding documents and help them grow in wonder and appreciation for a Constitution that is the prototype for peaceful democratic republics around the globe.  And, we teach them to engage in discussions of ideas with which they disagree - to do so civilly and with an earnest desire to listen and understand.

Liberal Arts education is not the Savior either, but it certainly does point children towards Jesus, help them understand and value the ideas that shaped our Nation's strength and stability, and urge them towards learning to listen more than they speak.  It prepares them to be citizens of both the Heavenly and the earthly kingdoms.  May it be so here at Dominion not only on Election Day, but on every day.

Topics: Christian Education, Classical Education, Faith, Christianity, Politics