11/07/12 — What's next? The fight is over. Now it is time to actually get to work

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What's next? The fight is over. Now it is time to actually get to work

Four years ago, on a "morning after" just like this one, some worried that a Barack Obama victory might bring a change that was not good for America, one that would alter the way we fundamentally think of ourselves as a nation.

But even though they were concerned, once faced with the prospect of an Obama presidency, they wondered if perhaps there was reason to believe the slogans and the promises of hands that reached across the aisle and two parties united in the goal of making a better tomorrow and a better country.

This nation was tired of gridlock, strife, arguments and name-calling. They wanted peace, and action. They were willing to believe that perhaps this might be that chance at a new way forward.

And now, it has happened again. This time, after a bitter battle ending in an electoral landslide, but with a slim popular vote margin in many states.

It wasn't a mandate -- and the fact that the voters chose to put in some new faces in other leadership positions attests to that.

Who knows the reason the election turned the way it did -- there will be plenty of pundits who will sit around and babble about that ad nauseam. They don't really know the answer, although they will pretend they had it figured out all along.

Truth is, the president has been given a second chance -- the opportunity to prove that his path is the right one. And he will have to do it with those final numbers in mind -- and the realization that this is a nation that is bitterly divided and not completely convinced he is on the right path.

It is crunch time. No more excuses and no more finger-pointing back to previous administrations. You don't get that luxury when you have promises still to keep. You have to answer for your decisions and to explain your failures as often as you take credit for your successes.

And that is what this country should expect.

So, we will hope for some of that magic -- and watch closely to see that the promises are kept -- as the second four years of an Obama administration begin. We will give the president the chance to succeed.

That is the right thing to do -- if you believe in this country and that the people have the right to have their say, even if you are not sure they made the right choice.

What will remain true, no matter who holds the keys to the Oval Office, is that this is a strong nation of people who love their country. They want what is best for it -- and for each other.

No more fancy speeches. No more adoring crowds. No more free passes.

It is time for results.

That is the responsibility that the president has asked for -- and we should expect him to live up to it.

We, as American citizens, deserve nothing less.

And we should expect something from the Republicans as well -- the conviction to stand tall for what is right, no matter the outcome of an election.

Principles matter. An electoral vote does not change the battle, just the playing field. Character is judged by how you respond to adversity. That is when leadership really counts.

So we move forward -- both parties -- back to where we were before the race to the White House began.

The fight is over, but the fundamental questions that it raised are still to be answered.

Perhaps we learned something -- and our politicians did, too.

It will be up to us to enforce those lessons.

And the good news is, the American people are up to the challenge.

Published in Editorials on November 7, 2012 12:17 PM