Hope and Optimism Triumph Over Fear and Division

by George Kennedy on November 7, 2012

Hope and Optimism Triumph Over Fear and Division



On Tuesday, over 50 million voters expressed a strong preference to continue the journey launched by President Obama in 2008.  The President’s strong message of hope and change, and a desire to complete the job, eclipsed a competing message of fear, division, obstruction, and partisanship.

In more than a dozen states, voters endured voter suppression tactics, capricious changes in voter registration laws, intimidation by outside groups, and lines measured in hours-waited-to-vote rather than length.  In the end, democracy triumphed and our Republic, still philosophically divided, took an important step back from the abyss many of us feared was our immediate future.

The outcome of the election, already under microscopic scrutiny, will likely impact the Democratic and the Republican Parties differently, but the leaders of both parties should not underestimate the peril of ignoring the degree of demographic change under way in this country.  Major segments of the electorate demand change and more accountability from elected officials and their patience is not unlimited.

The GOP failed to modernize and remains a party of aged ideas, resistant to real change, and is a hostage of a narrow stratum of privileged society disconnected from the 97 percent that insulates them from the realities that define life for most of us.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are organizationally and philosophically positioned to prosper in this century.  They, however, can not take for granted their base of support without becoming better, more effective, advocates for change.

This election was still about hope:  hope that a battle-tested president will be able to finish the job he started four years ago; hope that this president will build a coalition of the willing (citizen groups, elected officials, corporate and financial leaders) to forge policies that lower unemployment, reduce the national debt and reform tax law in a balanced fashion;  strengthen public education, rebuild this nation’s crumbling infrastructure, preserve the quality of our environment while developing new sources of domestic energy; and, restore fairness and greater equality within the fabric of American society, and preserve the integrity of those institutions of government central to the preservation of life and dignity for the elderly, the needy, and the young.

This election sent a message to the 1 percent that they can buy influence but not voters, and that voters do not forget who understands them and is willing to fight for them.  The voters abhorred the  hourly intrusion of close to a billion dollars in negative campaign ads that, in the end, may have had only negligible impact.

On Tuesday night, Paul Krugman’s “Real America”, brimming with hope and optimism, declared before the country and the world, with the reelection of President Obama, that we are witnessing, in the words of the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman, “the irreversible triumph of a new 21st century America:  multiracial, multi-ethnic,global in outlook and moving beyond centuries of racial, sexual, marital and religious freedom.”

A reelected President Obama, with our continued support, is now poised to make this a real American century.

Let’s help him get to work!

George Kennedy

George Kennedy is a retired senior Foreign Service officer with extensive international experience. He holds a B.A. from the University of Oregon and two graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kennedy was a political advisor to state and federal officials and has authored strategy pieces for Members of Congress and presidential candidates. He serves on the Advisory Board for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona.

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