Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Indivisible: I would like to have a word with the two Americas. And, if you don't mind, I would like to speak to each of you separately. Please disregard the paragraph that's not addressed to you.

Conservatives -- You earned a solid victory, but this was a close election among a bitterly divided population. Despite the fact that your candidate at one point garnered a 90-percent approval rating, his re-election still came as a surprise to many. This, to say the least, is not a Carte Blanche mandate. While Bush has done some good things as president, he has also alienated half of this country and much of the world. Now this is not irreparable damage. Bush can continue his vision, but he must do it in a humble manner that brings back the disaffected. He needs to show that he's learned something from this election.

Liberals -- You lost. This is the second time you lost when it came to deciding how to defend this country. The 2002 midterm elections strengthened the Republican hold in Congress. This year, we just requested four more years of President Bush, based heavily on his war record. It's time for you to give up on the anti-war factions and join us in fighting aggressively for this country. If you do that, then you'll be able to gain enough power to push liberal social issues and prevent the far right from controlling the agenda. But the people in this country want to take a hard line against terrorists and Middle Eastern dictators. Please join us in the fight.

Despite our continued differences, we have to rally in support of our president. This does not mean we're not allowed to criticize him, far from it, but we can do without the hate. However, we have to understand that he reflects the will of the majority of the people. We need to hold him accountable and help him reach the right goals that help America.

In the next four years, Bush needs to make these accomplishments:

Make Iraq succeed. Not only do we need to quell the insurgency and capture or kill Zarqawi, but we must also make legitimate elections work and help prosperity take root. The violence needs to subside quickly. Then we can foster a culture of freedom in that country over the next few years.

Handle Iran. That country sponsors terrorism, not only abroad but also within Iraq. It is developing WMD, including nuclear weapons. While military conflict is not yet likely there, we can't afford to let that country continue what it's doing unchecked. Iran is a major front in the War on Terrorism, and we must take a tough stand.

Fix the deficit. Re-election is over. There's no need to pander to the electorate by buying them off. This administration needs to practice its fiscal conservatism and show some budgetary responsibility.

Improve healthcare. Too many people in this country do not have health insurance or access to quality health coverage. It should become one of the government's priorities to fix that.

Capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. I know he's more of a spiritual leader than a mastermind, and defeating him won't have much real effect in preventing terrorism. But he is a terrorist icon that needs to be snubbed. I don't want to see any more of his stupid videos.

Continue to destroy Al Qaeda. Their cells are becoming more autonomous as they scatter around the world. They are elusive. But they have to be stopped.

Protect this country. I was wrong about there being a terrorist attack before the election. That says a lot about how well this administration has been able to maintain security. But we're still not safe. Terrorists will redouble their efforts to attack us, and they will succeed. While a successful terrorist attack is not a sign of failure, we can't lose the momentum in this fight.
While I can sense the bitterness of the Kerry supporters, not all is lost. This campaign has shed light on major shortcomings of the Bush administration. The first presidential debate brought up important issues that Bush won't be able to ignore. We're still divided, but I think this election can actually make us stronger. A good fight can toughen both sides. And we'll be a smarter and stronger country if we choose to pull together.


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