It’s the morning after Election Day. Much as predicted, and much as it did four years ago, the face of local, state, and federal government will look much different. A new group of people will join the Senate and the House of Representatives and move into governors’ mansions. In many states, as in my beloved Ohio, the legislature will look vastly different as well.
Over the coming days, we’re going to hear a lot from the pundits, the bloggers, and the editorial boards about mandates from America. “The American people have spoken,” they will say. Maybe they have, but maybe they really haven’t.
The fact of the matter is there are a lot of people in this country who have no voice. There are those without education or opportunity who are just trying to live the best life they can. There are those who want to share the beauty and art of this world with their communities. There are the teachers, principals, and administrators trying to create more dynamic programs to support every kind of student. There are those working to build or rebuild the best communities possible.
Amongst the shouting, big money, and oversimplified issues of elections many of these voices get lost.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned that fundamentally we, as Americans, all want the same thing. We want good schools, good jobs, access to affordable health care, good roads, and safe communities. We want the liberty to be who we are without fear. It is no secret that we’re facing real challenges to achieve those basic needs and wants.
I have every confidence that we in philanthropy will continue to do what we do, regardless of the Election-Day changes. We’ll continue to support the entrepreneurs and the problem solvers, the schools and the homeless shelters, the soup kitchens and the arts communities. We’ll continue to test new solutions, and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and why. We’ll continue to do the good, hard work we’ve promised to do.
I hope that you all will be open to sharing in our learning. I hope that we can learn together. I hope that government and philanthropy can work to solve so many of the intractable problems that have plagued our communities for so long.
We are all different, and so we may have some disagreement about how to achieve our lofty goals. But I don’t think any of us has any malevolent intentions.
Let’s talk to each other. Let’s listen to each other. Let’s work with each other. Let’s make sure all stakeholders have a voice in making our community healthier, stronger, and better than we found it. We’re all in this together—so let’s all be in this together. It’s the only way we’re going to get anything done.
Mary Galeti is vice-chair of the Tecovas Foundation