Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Time to Heal, Compromise

OK, so you're Barack Obama. You woke up Wednesday morning having been re-elected as President of the United States.

But over 57 million people voted for the other guy---almost half the electorate.

It's a sobering thought, or should be, as Mr. Obama starts Term II.

This was among the most bitter, divisive and nasty presidential campaigns in recent memory. Maybe ever.

You can blame Social Media for that. But more about that in a second.

Obama is president of everyone, of course (not just 47 percent), but knowing that about half the people don't want you in the Oval Office certainly should have a bearing on how you govern, no matter if you feel that your agenda and ideology are right, and theirs isn't.

But it's also a great time for compromise and reaching across the aisle, because no longer can Obama's detractors in Washington rally around their flag of making him a one term president. That ship has sailed, though not necessarily with breakneck speed, given how close the popular vote was.

But it has sailed, so let's get to work and get some stuff done. Speaker of the House John Boehner has offered an olive branch and a conciliatory tone, which is more than you can say for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It should also be noted that McConnell is up for re-election in 2014.

It's time now for Obama to gather the haters in Congress around him and say, "You guys wanted me gone. Well, I'm back. Deal with it, and let's end gridlock."

So we have a dichotomy of sorts here. There's the fact that nearly half of over 117 million voters wanted Mitt Romney as president. Yet there's also a magnificent chance to work on the soft underbelly of a GOP that got slapped in its behind on Tuesday, losing some key Senate races, most notably Elizabeth Warren beating Scott Brown in Massachusetts.

Obama Term II should be more interesting and even more productive than Term I. It could also lay the groundwork for continued Democratic presence in the White House come 2016. Someone might have some long coattails on which to ride into the Oval Office.


Obama had over 59 million votes, but 57 million voted for the other guy


Back to Social Media.

Facebook and Twitter weren't nearly as widespread in their use during the 2008 campaign. But in 2012, the vitriol and political posts and ensuing mean-spirited, nasty threads that resulted truly ended Facebook friendships or at the very least caused animosity that will take a while to dissolve. Sounds silly, I know, but it's true. I was among those who got involved in some pretty nasty back-and-forths.

With FB and Twitter, it's just so easy (too easy) to log on, rap out something in anger or passion, and then maybe you'd wished you hadn't. Maybe what you threw out there you should have kept to yourself. But the flip is that sometimes you stay on the sidelines too long, holding too much in, and you have no choice but to put in your two cents.

Trouble is, those two cents can rapidly turn into a buck and a half once the dissenters start responding.

I'm sure we'll all heal from this angry campaign. We always do. But the tone is set in Washington. If we see our leaders coming together, reaching across and banging out some bi-partisan legislation, maybe that will accelerate the healing.

But I think we can agree on one thing.

Thank goodness this campaign is over with!

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