I confess to being an American election junkie – as a former resident I have never been able to refrain from following its progress from my perch in the country to the north as a source of both entertainment and thought. It is seldom that there has been such a profound choice and I am relieved to see that the country has made what I believe to be the right one. While I gave up before the Romney concession speech, I found I couldn’t sleep and returned to watch Obama give one of his great speeches in his acceptance.
So where are we now? The markets in both the US and Canada indicate that they are fed up. The president seems to have renewed stamina and purpose. The defeated candidate thinks he was defeated by a give away – his party thinks that in part they still won. Sex scandals and society types who don’t pay their bills rule the news media. Rebuilding on flood plains is starting.
Perhaps the best wisdom came from the president when he reminded us that the next years aren’t just about him – they are about us. In such an anxious society, we have an obligation to engage, to differentiate, to determine what we value, to remember when to say no and when to say yes – to say “I” but also to say “we” and be more careful when we say “you”. Attack ads – which thankfully we are not as much exposed to, obscene amounts of money spent to persuade us – all suggest that we have little backbone and no responsibility. It’s a good time to re-group and continue to grow up. But how do we respond to people for whom beliefs are embedded by following only their media of choice? I confess to being as guilty as they are by never watching Fox News as they are by never believing anything in the New York Times. There is where our real challenge lies.