Monday Morning Message 11.2.20 Three Hopes For Tomorrow's Election: The Battle for Our Better Angels

Posted 2020-11-02 10:04am

“In our finest hours...the soul of the country manifests itself in an inclination to open our arms rather than to clench our fists; to look out rather than to turn inward; to accept rather than to reject.” ― Jon Meacham, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels

I have three hopes about the outcome of tomorrow’s historic Presidential election.

First, whoever wins would be well-advised to remember that a very significant number of citizens did not vote for him. Our next President does not have a mandate to ignore, patronize, or stampede the political opposition in order to advance an agenda.Second, the next President inherits a deeply divided country and a dysfunctional, hyper-partisan Congress. His single most important presidential responsibility is not reducing the cost of health care or rebuilding the economy. It’s rebuilding the human bridges of a divided nation that is coming apart at its seams.

Third, despite the intense emotions the election results are certain to evoke, it is my hope that we can use the outcome of this presidential election as one of those teachable moments that helps us get out of our partisan bubbles and ideological cul de sacs.

That’s why we will sponsor a special forum exclusively for our students, staff, and faculty on Thursday, November 5 at 12 noon. A zoom link will be sent on Wednesday. There will be no guest speakers. Rather, it’s an opportunity to share your thoughts, concerns, and questions. I’ll moderate what I am very confident will be a thoughtful, respectful, dialogue about the election aftermath.

Virtually every war, every conflict, every argument, every debate, and every divorce comes down to just one thing- not listening. Today, especially in our national politics, we talk past each other, deliberately ignoring points of agreement for fear of losing political points and advantage.

For our country to begin to heal, we must remind each other of our common destiny.  All of us have a mandate to do a much better job of talking and listening to each other across demographic, racial, political, and ideological lines.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m thankful for a law school where we welcome and celebrate diverse viewpoints but where we share common values. 

For a place which values the free exchange of ideas and, with it, difficult and necessary conversations among people of good will and good faith.

For facilitating free expression and fostering a culture where our students learn not only in the classroom but also through honest engagement and respectful and rational discourse and dialogue.

For teaching that all lawyers must understand not only their clients’ positions and interests but also the complex motivations and positions of all parties.

For fostering an understanding that reconciling differences is as important as winning cases.

For teaching that even as we zealously advocate for our clients, lawyers must remain committed to the ethical practice of law and civility.

For committing to graduate students who are not only successful professionals, but also leaders, change makers, and advocates of justice.

For working to fulfill our mission to Learn Law. Live Justice.

See a nonpartisan November 3, 2020 Election Night Guide I’ve written to help follow the evening’s (and perhaps the week’s and month’s) results.


Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice. Vote. 

 Have a great day. Have a great week.

For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages

Subscribe to Dean's Monday Morning Message

Subscribe to C|M|Law Newsletter

My views in all my Monday Morning Messages are my personal views alone and do not reflect the views of our law school or our university.

My best,


Lee Fisher
Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 
| Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law

  • Share