A time of great challenges for America
AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) - November 12, 2012 - 12:00am

HOUSTON, Texas – Republicans versus Democrats! This is what the US election is all about. In our country, we have too many parties without a strong backbone. The founding principles are lost and we end up voting based on popularity.

I always enjoy watching the US elections. I was in the US when George H.W. Bush won in 1989, when Bill Clinton won in 1993, George W. Bush in 2001 and now in the re-election of Obama.

In the history of the US, we have seen more Republican presidents voted into office: Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865), Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877), Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), James Garfield (March 1881-September 1881), Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885), Benjamin Harrison (1889-1983), William McKinley (1897-1901), Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), William H. Taft (1909-1913), Warren G. Harding (1921-1923), Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929), Herbert C. Hoover (1929-1933), Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961), Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974), Gerald R. Ford (1974-1977), Ronald W. Reagan ( 1981-1989), George H. W. Bush (1989-1993) and George W. Bush (2001-2009).

But this is not to say that the Democrats have not made their mark in the country. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence of the United States; James Madison was instrumental in the amendment of the constitutional bill known as the United States Bill of Rights; James Monroe was famous for his foreign policy known as the Monroe Doctrine which warned European nations against intervening and interfering in the matters of Western Hemisphere; Andrew Jackson was responsible for the creation of the national two-party system with the Democratic party as his brainchild; Woodrow Wilson was instrumental in creating and advocating the League of Nations and gave women the suffrage rights; Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the New Deal during the Great Depression to provide employment, relief to the unemployed, reform the banking and economic systems; Harry Truman was instrumental in creating United Nations, NATO and will always be remembered for his decision of using nuclear weapons against Japan; John F. Kennedy created a domestic policy known as the New Frontier which aimed at child education and medical care for the old and needy, opposed racism and initiated African-American Civil Rights Movement; Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and initiated many social service programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, aid for education and war on poverty; Bill Clinton presided over the longest period of peacetime expansion and was given credit for the uncommon fiscal discipline in 1993; while Barack Obama implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009, Job Creation Act 2010 and the much talked about Obama Care Health Plan.

Most Americans are deadlock republicans or democrats. They are very loyal to their parties and do not change to another party that easily. They stand by the party’s platform – close to their own beliefs. Most voters think more of the party. They go beyond the candidate and vote for what the party (democrat or republican) stands for.

Last Tuesday, November 6, 2012 American voters went to the polls to elect their President. It was an interesting day since the race was a very close one. On that day, America was divided between the Democrats and the Republicans – a nation’s vote split by party, gender, income, race, etc.

At 10:30 p.m. (central time in the US), when 60 percent of the votes were already in, the TV stations projected an Obama win. This call came after Obama was declared the winner in the crucial battleground of Ohio and subsequently won both Iowa and Oregon. It placed Obama over the required 270 electoral voters.

Obama did a very good job in targeting different groups like minority groups, pro-choice groups (as oppose to pro-life), gays, the black population, Latinos/ Hispanics, women (in general), students, and senior citizens. He was even able to win the hearts of the moderate Republicans. It is amusing to note how these groups turned out to have significantly influenced the votes during the election.

Romney lost the votes of minority groups including some Republicans due to his opposing views to some ideas of his Republican counterparts. Some analysts say that the Republicans downfall was their being too conservative and focused on the white population. The party should adjust from an identified “extremist” party to a more moderate one. In fact, some of the party members were tagged as “Republicans turned into Democrats”.

On Election Day, technology played a vital role. Voting patterns, demographics, early voting statistics, telephone surveys, historical votes were used to analyze the projected winner. But in the polling centers (schools, gyms, municipal courts, churches etc.) as some were using voting machines others where still using paper and pencil to vote. In fact, in Arizona’s most conservative county, the polling center ran out of ballots as early as 3 pm telling voters to either wait or go to another polling place within the county.

The re-election of Obama goes to show how majority of the American people continue to believe in a president who during his term has had difficulty in making and showing changes that the citizens expected him to do. Obama needs to prove his worth this time around. He needs to fulfill the promises he made before he became president and the promises he made again during his re-lection campaign. As he said in his acceptance speech, “America – the best has yet to come!”

After conceding, Romney humbly presented himself to the people and spoke graciously to congratulate Barack Obama. He said that this is the time to think of the people before thinking of personal interests. All must think country and pray for the leader. How I wish our own politicians can emulate such humility.

This election was a wake up call and it surely sent a strong message to the Republican party. Yes, unfortunately, they did not reach out to the majority of the Americans. They continued their tradition and beliefs. But at the end of the day, changes need to be made without having to destroy the ideals of which the party stands for. This is a new dawn for America. Another age has just begun. As Romney himself said during his concession speech, “This is a time of great challenges for America.”

I guess the Republicans have come to realize that America is not only made up of white men. They are already made up of many groups coming from distant shores. Like the first pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower at Plymouth, Massachusetts and other pilgrims who arrived at Staten Island, New York in the 1600s, many immigrants continue to arrive making America a very multi-cultural based population coming from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, etc. So the President of this country cannot afford to be too elitist, too conservative and too extremist. He must be able to “morph” in order to win.

In the Philippines too many of our politicians naturally “morph” – but that’s another story to tell. Abangan!


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