I received an email from one of my students recently, which read, “Our classroom environment was very comfortable and open, it made me excited to go to class every day. I have learned so much more than just course material from National Agenda. I have a new appreciation for others and a whole new outlook on the world. I wish everyone could take National Agenda, I think it would do the world a lot of good.”
On the last day of class, there were tears of joy and sadness, as the students acknowledged the end of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Together, they had engaged in classroom discussions about guns and mass shootings, the impact of historical milestones—like the primary process—that have shifted politics in their generation, and the moral foundations that drive our beliefs, values, and behaviors, among many other topics. And, of course, they hung out with former Vice President Joe Biden for three-and-a-half hours over UDairy ice cream! That is not something every UD student can say they’ve experienced.
This was a tumultuous year, and our speakers put forth some controversial perspectives. But they also demonstrated the very real capacity we have to see each other as human beings, rather than as “Democrats” or “Republicans,” “good” or “bad.” In the end, we are All Americans, riding this roller coaster together. As David Joy said in his talk about geographic divides, “You know, where there are going to be two sides and we are not in agreement, I think you have to go into it with a very open mind and your hands like this," holding his two hands together, palms up, open to other perspectives. Equipped with that, I think we can all do the world a lot of good.