USA: Massachusetts - Sibling Rivalry
This is the third post in a three-part series on the US Presidential election, written from the point of view of a leader that is not old enough to vote.
After an eyes-glued-to-the-television, obsessing-over-polls type of election, the 2012 US presidential campaign has finally concluded, leaving in its wake nearly as many cheers as sighs of disappointment.
Last night, President Barack Obama took both the Electoral College and the popular vote. However, the incumbent president won only about 50.1% of the popular vote, speaking volumes to an incredibly divided country. From now until the end of his second term, every decision the President makes will be scrutinized, and most likely met with as much resistance as support. As it stands, half of the nation feels it’s not represented, and with the two parties as divided as they are today, it’s hard to envision the President, and the nation, working together after this campaign.
The deep political divide becomes crystal clear when examining the makeup of Congress: Republicans maintained a majority in the House of Representatives, and Democrats retained control in the Senate. And since both the House and the Senate are needed to declare war, create laws, and more generally, make changes, a divided Congress will hamper any kind of progress.
However, there may be some hope for a nation that transcends party lines. In 2008, President Obama said he was “going to [enter the presidency] with a spirit of bipartisanship.” In his next term, the President will have to continue to work through the deadlock between the two parties – an outcome a lot of voters are hoping for. Trying to find common ground between the two parties may be the only way to reunite the nation. But it’s hard not to notice that the gap between “liberals” and “conservatives” seems to be widening, not narrowing (and this campaign definitely didn’t help). At this point, the nation is just waiting to see which side will blink first and uncross their arms so the overwhelming majority of the population doesn’t lose out.
In the end, President Obama identifies as democrat, ran his campaign as a democrat, and won as a democrat. Therefore, it is his right and responsibility to act on the principles and platforms of that party. With the people’s will so clearly split, however, President Obama must not only unite the parties, but also the people, regardless of party loyalty. With the grueling election behind him, President Obama faces a new array of challenges. Overcoming these obstacles requires politicians to reach across the aisle; but more importantly, it calls for a meeting of the minds among citizens.
Photo Credit - REUTERS/Philip Scott- Andrews