Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Election Is Over But Not Our Problems

I voted for Barack Obama this past week.

So my guy won. I should be deliriously happy. But I’m not.

I’m not happy that the better man won, not the best man. There was no
best man.

Let’s face it, Mitt Romney was the least ugly participant in a
Republican beauty contest that featured a sorry cast of characters.

He was hardly a dream candidate. While cultivating his image as a
decent, God-fearing family man, Romney was unable to shake his
portrayal as an outsourcing Daddy Warbucks who believed 47 per cent
of Americans were government freeloaders who lack personal

His base was older white males, a voting group which has declined
steadily since 1992, according to one estimate. He did little to
remedy it. That left young voters, minorities and women to support
Obama. Which they did in considerable numbers.

Perhaps most damning of all, while Romney got close at the end, he
couldn’t convince voters he was preferable to a vulnerable opponent.

Barack Obama was elected to his first term on a platform of hope and
change. After four years, there didn’t seem to be an abundance of
either. He heroically rescued a failing economy, but then failed at
job creation. He killed the world’s most hunted terrorist but
terrorism remains our greatest threat. His foreign policy seems

Now, whatever else he accomplishes, he will be judged on his economic
successes or failures. If he doesn’t lead us away from the brink of
the fiscal cliff that looms on the horizon, the country could be
plunged into a recession much like the one he inherited from
President Bush. It may make his first term look like a walk in the

I’m not happy that the two campaigns spent an estimated $6 billion
dollars to engage in what was essentially an exercise in mudslinging
while never clearly defining their respective positions.

And what did $6 billion buy? Absolutely nothing. The President held the White
House, the GOP held the House and the Democrats held the Senate.

I’m not happy that the Republican Party has been left in disarray. I
am not a Republican but I do not wish to see the GOP become
irrelevant. The two-party system best represents the checks and
balances that our Founding Fathers wisely embraced.

The party needs new leadership. It won’t be Mitt Romney, a one-hit
wonder who will quickly disappear from the stage. It won’t be the Tea
Party which is more divisive than unifying.

It needs to be someone who understands that the demographic in this
country has changed and to exclude meaningful participation by young
people, women and minorities over time will reduce the GOP to a
political afterthought.

That point was underscored by this telling quote by a GOP fundraiser
that appeared on CNN: "Latinos were disillusioned with Barack Obama,
but they are absolutely terrified by the idea of Mitt Romney."

I’m not happy that many Republicans are blaming an act of God for
their political setbacks. Some point to Hurricane Sandy which they
say hindered Romney’s momentum in the final week of the campaign.
Which is stretching the truth. Romney’s momentum was already slowing
before the storm struck.

Still others blame Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey
for lavishing praise on the President for his assistance following
Sandy’s destructive path through his state. Apparently honesty is not
always the best policy.

I’m not happy with Democrats who feel they scored a major political
victory. Obama’s win, specifically the slim margin in the popular
vote, was hardly a mandate.

I’m not happy that some conservatives continue to treat Obama’s
presidency as though it was an Old Testament plague.
Journalist and blogger Robert Stacy McCain wrote in The American
Spectator that "The cretins and dimwits have become an effective
governing majority, and the question for conservatives at this point
is perhaps not, 'What does it mean?' but rather, 'Why should we
bother ourselves resisting it any longer?'"

“Today was Pearl Harbor. Tomorrow we begin planning for Normandy,”
wrote radio talk show host Bryan Fisher.

And of course there was Donald Trump who tweeted, “We can't let this
happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our
nation is totally divided!”

I’m not happy that this country, at a time it needs to unite, seems
poised to continue to stumble down the same path it has followed for
the last four years where civility and a sense of duty is trampled by
political warfare and hostility.

I would be happy if we all remembered the phrase on the Seal of the
United States. E Pluribus Unum. Out of Many, One.

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