To the Editor:

Our recent national election suggests several reasons why all of us and particularly college students should be involved in electoral politics. The number of people who registered and voted this past Tuesday was good for democracy. Those college students who registered and voted, some for the first time, increased the strength and importance of our being a democratic society. This is no small contribution to the welfare of our nation, and all college students should register and vote when they become eligible to do so.

President Bush does not have a mandate, but he does have an opportunity to address growing concerns like unemployment, those without health care, the failure of his administration during his first term in office to adequately fund the No Child Left Behind Act, and global peace, starting with Iraq and the Middle East. College students and others must continuously sound their voices to President Bush and Congress about these and other matters.

The choice some people made on Tuesday was influenced by their religious beliefs and values. This reminds us that Americans are more sensitive to religion than perhaps we understood or gave attention to before the election. Religious value orientations of people influence their public and international policy decisions. College students would benefit by critically examining the religious dimensions of how people attempt to order their lives and society.

This is an exciting time and an important opportunity for college students as citizens to influence the future health of America and how we relate to the wider world. This contribution may include, but often goes beyond, what we do to help a candidate to win an election.

Frederick J. Streets

Nov. 4, 2004

The writer is the Yale University chaplain.