The votes have been counted (except for Florida). The balloons fell from the ceiling. The gracious speeches were given.
America chose President Barack Obama for four more years.
And now we can all breathe a sigh of relief. You either got what you wanted, or you can at least appreciate the end of the political commercials, tweets and tension.
Without the focus on reelection no longer commanding his time, Obama can hopefully now fulfill the promises he made on the campaign trail.
The election process not only sifts time from the president and other politicians, but it can often be counteractive to compromise. Candidates begin to fear that a compromise will appear weak or as a departure from their party’s platform.
Democrats and Republicans have and will always have problems agreeing, and an election decided by 3 million votes doesn’t exactly help this relationship.If Obama wants there to be any forward movement, he needs to honor his promise to build bridges across the divide. A promise that is only possible if politicians on both sides can step off the campaign trail and begin to seriously work towards solutions that will settle our country’s growing list of problems.
The first problem on this list will not only have great ramifications on the economy but is also paired with a very palpable deadline. The fiscal cliff is a set of legislature that will result in massive, widespread spending cuts and an end to Bush-era tax cuts that could stunt economic growth and increase unemployment. Assuming no other plan is agreed upon, these changes will begin on Jan. 1, 2013. This very real and tangible deadline is hopefully what Washington needs to force politicians toward the center, willing to find a middle ground.
Along with this immediate decision, Obama has also promised to solve problems such as reducing the deficit, reworking the tax code, revising immigration laws and reducing dependence on foreign oil.
A second term offers a chance to continue working toward laws and policies that he began in the last four years. The continuity in the White House will hopefully lead to some order and experience that will result in change toward what we all believe America can and should be.
While the respective parties have no doubt started thinking about 2016, we as Americans can begin to forget about this candidate or that candidate and get behind our president and our country.