Election results call for cooperation

February 9, 2009

We just elected the 44th president of the United States of America. During the past two years leading up to this historic election, we heard so much about change, so much about the need for bipartisanship. Change isn’t coming; it’s here. The past two years, the voices of Barack Obama and John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and, yes, even Ron Paul helped us to examine our country and what we hoped to achieve during the next presidential term.

The election may have ended, but now the real test has just begun. The election featured an unprecedented voter turnout. People are passionate. Many worked long hours and made sacrifices to see their candidate and their ideals elected. This passion cannot die simply because the other candidate won. Now is the time when we must work together to ensure all the talk becomes action.

Both candidates in this election told us the importance of bipartisanship, the need to listen to different opinions other than our own, to work with, not against, those with whom we disagree for the good of our country. We have all seen firsthand the damage done by partisan bickering. It has halted progress in Congress over important issues. It has turned civil discourse and discussion on Capitol Hill into divisive name calling. It has allowed hurt feelings to trump putting our country first.

We have seen it in Congress, on cable news networks and, sadly, even here on campus. Anyone who attended last Wednesday’s political debate heard Dr. Kristina Campos tell of how people refused to accept candy from her 6-year-old daughter, who was booed
by many in the ACU community, while she rode on the ACU Democrats’ float during the Homecoming Parade. As Americans, we should be above such childish behavior. As Christians, we should be appalled.

Americans. So much more unites us than divides us. We all want to see our children grow up in a country safe from terrorism, to see them receive the best education possible. We all want our fellow Americans to receive medical care without incurring life-shattering debt. We all want our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, neighbors and loved ones to return safely from the Middle East and win this war. We just have different opinions on how to achieve these goals. We can’t let these differences defeat us.

Our next president faces a mounting economic crisis, healthcare reform, a continued war in Iraq and a seemingly endless list of troubles he must face on day one. This is no time to abandon him or begin questioning his every move. The past 16 years have been marked by partisanship that has crippled our political system. The man sitting in the Oval Office may not be the one you chose, but he is the one whose decisions affect all our lives. He cannot overcome these obstacles with a nation and Congress distracted by party prejudices and grudges.

Now more than ever, we need leaders who will reach across the aisle, citizens who will remain involved. If we can learn to approach the national discussion with an open mind, to join together for the good of our beloved country, then that is what will pull us out of these dark times. That is putting country first. That is change we can believe.

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