Bruce Springsteen ends his great (but depressing) album Nebraska with the song “Reason to Believe,” each verse telling a Job-like story of a character facing loss but ending with the phrase, “At the end of every hard-earned day people find some reason to believe.” To our Kenyon students — all of you, regardless of political views or your vote in the past election — you represent my reasons to believe.
Creating a playlist is a way for me to respond to events happening around us. This playlist is a reflection of the mixture of emotions that I have felt, and emotions that others have shared with me, over the past week.
This is a place where ideas are meant to be challenged and contested. Where baseless and ignorant claims are countered and confronted with powerful facts. Where we listen respectfully and challenge forcefully. This is the spirit of a liberal arts institution, and we must work to practice these actions each day.
We will fail to create a community inclusive of religious difference until we can do the work of listening and empathizing across boundaries of faith.
How does study of the traditional liberal arts, at a price of about $60,000 per year, in a rural setting in Ohio, have any relevance to the fast-paced, technology-driven, globally connected economy?