It’s been a long election season. It’s been a longer four years. And for Republicans, there’s little reason to celebrate a “move forward” into what feels at the moment like the promise of an interminably long tomorrow.
But this is where we find ourselves, and we have to decide how we are going to react to losing an election.
You see, we are grown ups. We are not children. And this was not a football game that we can simply stomp away from or forget.
As adults we are required to put aside resentment, anger, regret at the end of what has been a passionate and sometimes bitter debate. It doesn’t matter how we feel or why we feel it. We must step forward and shake hands and get on with it.
We know this. We live in a republic. We made our case, and we lost our argument.
In his concession speech, Mitt Romney graciously said, “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work, and we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.”
He was absolutely right.
Barack Obama has been re-elected. He is the President of the United States. Whatever he has done in the past, we must fervently hope he leads a divided people to a new place of consensus. We must, if we can, help him do this.
As he said in his acceptance speech, this will not be easy. “Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy. That won’t change after tonight….”
This is spot-on for his part.
Republicans will not magically begin to agree with Democrats.
Democrats will not magically begin to agree with Republicans.
Both sides will still represent constituents who care deeply about the issues that drove them to the polls to vote in the first place, and members of Congress will continue to answer only to those people within their myriad states and districts…those millions of people across our great land who have different priorities and who do not seem lately to agree on much of anything.
“But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future…. [and] that common bond is where we must begin.”
With these words, President Obama seems to be pledging he will not in this very divided nation try to stand in just blue states this term. Rather, amongst disparate groups, he will try to build bridges.
For our part, we must allow those bridges to be built! We must look at his good faith efforts to respect what we think, and then we must demand those other leaders who answer most closely to us to craft real compromise in Washington.
On this both sides have little choice. Our nation cries for solutions. Our problems can no longer be ignored, and we can no longer care about just your or my special interests. We cannot leave this to the next generation.
President Obama said, “I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”
In good faith, let’s try our best to make that right.