Income inequality. Environmental sustainability. Immigration. Gun control. Free speech. Access to quality health care. Access to education. Nutrition for children. The empowerment of women.
Who could disagree that these are important issues? And yet, in this election year, we are witnessing a raging river of issues-based ideological rhetoric about how to approach these problems. This rhetoric has cut a gorge through our country that runs between neighbors, within workplaces, and within the government. Ubiquitous media keeps the chasm always in our view. Each issue is disputed from two sides of a deep political divide, and the distance often seems too wide and too contentious to bridge.
Or is it? Maybe bridging the gap is the wrong way to think about it.
When our dog Crickett had a surgical wound whose edges could not be brought together because of extensive tissue loss, the vets said we should try secondary healing. The wound was left open to heal by granulation, contraction, and epithelialization—in other words, the scar tissue would slowly emerge from the inside of the wound and eventually fill the space. It was a slow healing process that employed the physiology of Crickett’s own body. It required patience, care, and inconvenience. But the healing happened. No more gap.
When I think about the alumni and students you will read about in this Wick, I think about how their work heals our politicized divides from the inside out. Our featured alumni explore the root causes of injustice, they develop a depth of understanding about the impact of human suffering that lives apart from politicized orotundity, and they access ideas that, when leveraged through our uniquely human ability to reason, become the underlayment of solutions to the most difficult problems.
As has always been the case, knowledge built upon the foundation of experience, information, and thoughtfulness can fill gaps, from the inside out. Rather than needing to build a fragile ideological bridge to span the divide, Hartwick alumni employ their intelligence and creativity to build understanding. Their work is profoundly human. It can be slow, require patience, and be inconvenient. But through them, and the Hartwick students who learn from them, understanding grows, gaps are filled, and divides disappear. Out of their work evolves the permanent solutions that have always been within the grasp of a Hartwick educated person.
A big thank you to our alumni who do the work that can heal individuals, communities, and a nation.
And thanks for the inspiration, Crickett.
Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich P’12