The 2012 election is over. The political rhetoric will continue for some time to come, but the debates, the recriminations and the accusations should be over for the present time. President Barack Obama has been re-elected and Governor Mitt Romney conceded the election with grace and style. The 44th President of the United States won both the popular vote and a majority of electors of the electoral college. While it still is too close to call in Florida (and where have we heard that before?), decisive victories in key battleground states like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada put the president over the top and guaranteed him another four years in the White House.
The next major event in the course of this nation will be January 20, Inauguration Day. The 113th Congress will reconvene before that and, while the spirit of bipartisanship has not been seen along the Beltway in some time, there should be some cooperation between warring factions in the House and Senate that will allow cooler heads to prevail for a few days. The Democrats have held onto their control of the Senate, while the Republicans have strengthened their leadership in the House. That means gridlock will most likely continue, but there is hope President Obama may be able to push through legislation that will give his legacy a prominent place among his peers.
As citizens, what we all need to do is abandon the passions of the past two years and get solidly behind the man whose job will be to strengthen our country’s economic woes and to lead our nation in foreign affairs. It is a daunting task and one few will ever achieve. Our troops are out of Iraq and while the Afghanistan conflict continues, there is a timetable in place where our withdrawal is set in stone. While the economy shows signs of stirring, we still have a long way to go. The threat of a nuclear-powered Iran still seems to be only a matter of time and how our chief ally there – Israel – will deal with it has yet to be determined. 68% of the Jewish population supported the 2012 re-election campaign, which is down slightly from four years ago. There has been a lingering doubt as to where the president’s heart lies with respect to Israel, but he maintains (especially in the course of the final debate) that our partnership with Israel is the cornerstone of his Middle East policy. Perhaps we should be vigilant, but give him the benefit of the doubt.
Mr. Obama has run his last election. Let us wipe away any lingering mud slung during the past two years and move on for the sake of this great land and its great institutions. Our president needs our support to make the next four years ones we can all get behind. And we need to keep in mind the 2016 campaign will be starting up soon enough.