Last week, I shared an open letter to President-elect Trump. This week, I have a letter to everyone else.
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Congratulations. We have elected the 45th President of the United States. This is a remarkable feat. America is 240 years old and, looking back from when it started, the world has changed quite a bit; yet the remarkable framework of our government “by the people and for the people” remains strong. Our forefathers could not have imagined what the world would look like today. In 1776, Twitter had not even been invented yet! Can you imagine?
 
Through a civil war, world wars, cold wars, good leaders, bad leaders, good ideas, bad ideas, changing times, recessions, depressions, and bunch of ups and downs, somehow our country has managed to survive. And, more than that, to thrive. This is a great country and I am grateful that I get to live here.
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  • Last week, a bunch of us in America chose to vote. Individually, we each had the freedom to voice who we would choose to serve as our next President.  Historically, I’m guessing that there are billions of people who lived and died without ever having that incredible opportunity. Listening to my 18-year old daughter talk about casting her first vote, it reminded me not to take this gift for granted.
     
  • Last week, a bunch of us in America chose not vote. In a roundabout way, that’s cool, too. They exercised their freedom in a different way. They got to choose, and they chose not to vote. Freedom can manifest itself in different forms. Bottom line: as long as you have the freedom to cast your vote, in my book whether you do or don’t is up to you.
     
  • Last week, a bunch of us in America were alternately sad, happy, shocked, enthusiastic, confounded, thrilled, angry and/or just numb. Some individuals may have even experienced these conflicting states simultaneously!
     
  • Last week, and continuing into this week, the world kept spinning and this great democracy kept functioning.
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What does this have to do with federal funding for schools and libraries? A lot, it turns out. Let me illustrate.
I think access to the Internet can really help students of all ages learn. That is why I am an advocate for the E-rate program, helping connect schools and libraries to the Internet. I’d even like to see those connections extended off-campus to students’ homes. (Internet access should not be limited to those who have the biggest monthly data plan from AT&T or Verizon.)
 
Let’s assume for a minute that you disagree with me. Okay, I respect your opinion. But now what? How do we resolve our big difference of opinion?
 
                                          
 
This is the beauty of the great country that we live in. There is a way for us to work these differences out. As I have drawn it out above, there are a multitude of ways to further our causes and advance certain agendas. And we are lucky enough to live in a country where we can do just that.
 
If you are happy about the Presidential election results, I am happy for you. Now, go out and do something about it!
 
If you are upset about the Presidential election results, I am upset for you. Now, go out and do something about it!
 
Do you see my point? Whether we agree or disagree, we can all contribute to this great country. (I happen to think that finding common ground and priorities would be a good starting point. Perhaps, investment in telecommunications infrastructure for our communities...)
 
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This letter is quite a bit different than the typical “E-rate update” that I share. Frankly, I am looking forward to getting back to writing my normal blogs that most people won’t even read! But I felt it was important to share a few more thoughts regarding the Presidential election.
 
I would like to close with words from Abraham Lincoln, spoken at Gettysburg when our country was far, far more divided than it is today:
 
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
 
America is not a “done” project. Work remains. There are next elections, novel choices, and new opportunities before us. Let’s press forward. America is great, and we are stronger together.