President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain gave the nation a healing gift Tuesday night in the graciousness and humbleness of their victory and concession speeches. Their words carry a message far beyond the rhetoric of any political campaign; they're worth remembering and practicing.
Said Sen. McCain: "I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.
"Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans."
Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. It's time to end the bickering, the name calling, the finger pointing, the partisan politics and work together. If Sen. McCain can now inspire all those Americans who supported him to work with all those Americans who supported Sen. Obama, he will have achieved victory, maybe not the one for which he had hoped, but one that the nation desperately needs nevertheless.
While the nation's desire for change may have catapulted President-elect Obama to his historic victory, he reminded the nation that now the real work of change really begins.
As the next president said in his victory speech: "This victory alone is not the change we seek it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
"So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers in this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people."
Those involved in the grassroots movement responsible for President-elect Obama's ascension to power cannot rest on their laurels or this historic election will be a shallow victory indeed. The energy devoted to getting Obama elected must now be channeled to solving the very real problems of this country.
The days after an election in these United States of America are a wonderfully simple reminder of what makes this nation so great. Life goes on. Change happens without upheaval, without bloodshed. Sure, some may complain about the outcome, but there is faith that the foundation of this nation won't be shaken. And it won't be as long as Americans make the choice to work together for the greater good of the nation. Americans will never agree on everything, but those disagreements can make for better decisions and a stronger country.
Our congratulations to all those who appeared on Tuesday's ballot.
And, by the way, welcome home, Gov. Sarah Palin. It's been quite an election season for us all.
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