I don't know if you heard, but Barack Obama has won a second term as President.
There are many reasons to be excited about this, but at the same time there are causes for concern. Obama swept into office four years ago with promises of change. He did accomplish at least one major change and that was the establishment of the Affordable Healthcare Act. But in other regards, change has come slowly, if at all.
Admittedly, much of the resistance has come from the Tea Party and other Republican politicians who automatically said no to any proposal, but that fact is now irrelevant. Obama needs to double down and stop pointing the finger at Bush who, while he did leave behind a mess, did so more than four years ago and that excuse is no longer valid. If we expected results from the President before, our expectations are even greater this time around.
Therein will lie part of the challenge. This was really a razor-thin election in many regards. The divide between political ideologies is both wide and deep, so much so that I've often mused of the US breaking up into at least two separate nations. Through their franchise, about 40% of voters chose the opposition over Obama. Thus far, our President has been fairly humble about that fact, but that will need to remain firmly in his mind over the next four years. If he is to be truly bipartisan, it will require a truly herculean effort of diplomacy on his part.
That is only if the other side will be receptive. If Republicans have gleaned anything from the numerous losses they incurred yesterday, I hope one is that "hate doesn't work." The Tea Party has disgraced Republicans by stifling the voices of moderate and intelligent conservatives and replacing them with vitriolic rhetoric of religious self-righteousness, ignorant claims of "socialism," racist allegations of "Muslim," and supposed platforms of "personal responsibility." With the exception of a few elections on the local level, yesterday should demonstrate that the American public just isn't buying that line anymore. The Tea Party of the aged and the white is quickly losing relevancy and will disappear altogether as their numbers die off from old age. Republicans will have to embrace youth and diversity if they are to survive.
Truthfully, what exactly did the Republicans offer as their alternative to Obama? Two guys who scared the bejeepers out of me and when pressed on issues, usually could only answer "we don't like Obama" and offered no solutions of their own...other than to ban abortion and same-sex marriage and to eliminate social service programs. Additionally, if your party is asked "did the rape guy win?" and you have to answer "which one?" then you are in trouble. If you are a woman, you really shouldn't support the current incarnation of the GOP. If you are a man who loves women, you really shouldn't support the current incarnation of the GOP. If you are a man who loves other men, you really shouldn't...well, you get the idea.
I am excited for another four years of President Obama. I am hopeful that red and blue can come together and get pink.
"Pink." See, there's that dang "socialism" again.
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