President Barack Obama. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 07, 2012 6:25 PM
The nation has spoken and what Americans woke up to yesterday morning was four more years of President Barack Obama leading an America and government that is equally divided.
Forget the Electoral College that skewed the results. Here’s the most relevant numbers: Out of nearly 118 million votes cast, the president’s margin of victory was about 2.4 percent over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
That’s reflected in the chambers of Congress, where the Democrats hold a majority in the Senate while Republicans enjoy a majority in the House.
Politicians and pundits, therefore, are predicting more gridlock in Washington, D.C., much like the last four years.
Trouble is this nation’s challenges demand action and solutions, not stubborn stalemates.
Of immediate concern is the looming expiration of tax cuts that will hit Americans’ wallets and automatic spending cuts that will whack both defense spending and domestic programs at the first of the year unless Washington intervenes.
After that hurdle, there’s the enormous and burgeoning federal debt, a tax code that lacks fairness and confidence from the majority of people who pay their fair share, a sluggish economy, entitlement programs that are unsustainable, the country’s crumbling infrastructure, too much dependence on foreign oil imports and terror mongers who still dream of inflicting harm on our shores and interests.
Party leaders said all the right things last night after the election results dawned clearly.
“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests,” President Obama said in his victory speech. “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 his concession speech, Romney said, “At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”
House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said, “If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs.”
Ethan Siegel, an analyst who analyzes Washington politics for institutional investors, said this election’s end result “means the same people who couldn’t figure out how to cut deals for the past three years.”
Members of Congress, though, should heed the example set a week before the election by Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican. The latter had been one of the president’s harshest critics, but when Hurricane Sandy devastated part of the New Jersey shore, the two men teamed up to assess the damage and Christie praised Obama for his “personal concern and compassion for our state and the people of our state.”
Christie has been roundly criticized by members of his party for his comments, but he rose above politics and showed that his allegiance was to the people he serves in his state, not his party.
Politics can make strange bedfellows. So can crisis. And the mounting problems in this country form such a crisis.
What the majority of citizens in this country want is for both parties to embrace and employ the art of compromise, rather than the endless sniping and posturing fostered by their own political ambitions.
What this country needs now as much as any other time in its history are statesmen who will conduct themselves and vote in the best interest of our nation, not their party’s.
Our collective futures depend on it.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.