11/08/04 — Looking ahead: Kerry, Bush unite in call for healing

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Looking ahead: Kerry, Bush unite in call for healing

Whether the national media like it or not — and they unquestionably do not — we’re going to have four more years of George Bush.

The president did not receive a mandate, as he suggested. Rather it was a victory with a challenge.

The challenge is to bring the country together. It has been divided — a division emphasized and widened by caustic campaign rhetoric and an ongoing and deliberate emphasis by the national press.

Take note of the fact that in your daily newspaper, stories by The Associated Press invariably make references to positions announced by “the Bush administration.” It is never the “United States position” or the “Washington position.”

The clear message is that one is reading about a politically partisan position in a divided nation.

John Edwards made “two Americas” the trademark of his campaign for the presidency and later his campaign for the vice presidency. Somehow, he tried to advance the cause for one America by turning the poor against the wealthy and the people of the nation against everything their president represented.

Edwards, it should be noted, failed to deliver even his own state for the Democratic Party though fellow Democrat Mike Easley carried it handily in winning a second term.

Sen. John Kerry handled his defeat admirably. He called to congratulate President Bush and to discuss the need for “healing.”

Some rock-ribbed Republicans might regard that as akin to Typhoid Annie being the poster girl for good health.

But as a senator with four years remaining in his term, Kerry will have ample opportunity to demonstrate his sincerity and leadership in Congress.

Edwards, whose “concession” speech offered no hint of conciliation, will have to find another vehicle for his anti-administration, anti-wealth crusade of national divisiveness as a platform for 2008.

Surely, he will find a ready audience with the Dan Rathers, the Peter Jenningses and the ivory towers’ occupants of big newspapers and wire services of the world.

But the United States and the people of this country and the world need precisely what President Bush and Sen. Kerry called for on the day after the election — a coming together for healing and national and world leadership.

The vast majority of us who disagreed with each other at the polls should be enthusiastic volunteers dedicating ourselves to being a part of that effort.

Published in Editorials on November 8, 2004 11:05 AM