This one may be a few days after the fact, but it bears mention nonetheless . . . .
The 2012 election was one of the most contentious, high-conflict, and polarizing elections in American history, as I stated in my October 28, 2012 blog post. But Tuesday night, just before 11pm, our electorate finally made its decision. In a quick and decisive come-from-behind victory, President Barack Obama secured most of the electoral-vote-heavy swing states that he needed within an hour. Finally, with the most populous counties of Northern Ohio reporting in, the President secured the 270 electoral votes he needed for re-election. He graciously thanked his supporters for carrying him through, while his opponent, Governor Romney, gave an equally gracious concession speech.
So where do we go from here? Allow me to explain:
(1) FOR THOSE WHO VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY: You rallied behind your candidate, and he set forth an ambitious and determined campaign. His platform emphasized the weaknesses of the current administration, and he made an excellent case for himself to bring "Morning in America" once more. However, democracy is based on majority rule, and the majority has chosen not to elect him. You can still acknowledge the good he has done for this country, both of his home states, his company, his church, and his family. And you can also follow some advice my father learned in the Army: "Even if you don't respect the man, you must respect the Office he holds." And that man is still Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the chair of the Executive Branch of the Government, the Leader of the Free World, and the representative of our country abroad.
The election was the opportunity for those who sought new leadership and a new direction to exercise their constitutional rights to do so. However, those who sought to keep this President were in the majority, and he earned re-election fair and square, with or without Florida's votes. For the next four years, barring any fortuitous circumstances, he will continue as President. Until that time, when both parties will select people best qualified to lead this nation for the next four years after that, it is best to respect the Office this man holds, and to acknowledge that he has a job to do.
(2) FOR THOSE WHO VOTED FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: As I stated in the October 28th post, keep the celebrations and gloating to the bare minimum. You've done enough dancing in the streets for now, and you'll get another chance to do a little more this January 21st. Otherwise, this President has much to do in his second term. He has an economy that has not yet shown the recovery this country needs, and strained relationships with at least one of our allies. He has one war in progress that started right after 9/11, with little reason for it to continue. And quite frankly, he governs a nation with nearly half its population not confident in his leadership abilities. He could easily disregard what those people think, because he never has to worry about being re-elected again, but that's a mistake. He is still accountable to all citizens, even the ones that wanted to vote him out of office. He must now unite this country, and explain why it is important to put our political and philosophical differences aside for the sake of cooperation.
Above all else, now is also the time for this country to put aside the antagonism and divisiveness that characterized this election, and rally behind this President, regardless of who voted for him and who did not. More conflict and disagreement will only keep us deadlocked and paralyzed. Let's hope that our elected officials can put aside party loyalty for the common good.
That's my piece, all. Have a good night, and a Happy Veterans Day to those who have answered the call of duty and served to protect and defend this country.