Although it's a little early in the evening (just before midnight as I write this), I thought I'd get in on the ground floor and extend a big congratulations to President Barack Obama on his re-election win in today's general election (of course, I had this same posting prepared in the event either candidate won this year's election). So, after almost 2 years, some $6 billion dollars spent, and an even more polarized electorate (there's a chance Mitt Romney might narrowly win the popular vote, while the President will take the Electoral College), the fight is finally over!
So why does this bode ill for a continually (and politically) divided country? Because among the results of this particular election cycle:
-A noticeably (and painfully lengthy) primary process which reveals intra-party ideological fracturing (in both parties).-The election of the first openly gay U.S. Senator in Wisconsin (a controversy to be sure). In addition, it looks like the legalization of same-sex marriage will pass for the first time on statewide initiatives in three states (Maryland and Maine being the most prominent).
-The ideological entrenchment of the two major parties, neither of which will move toward the rational political center.
-A Congress that remains both numerically and politically divided (the Democrats retain control of the Senate, while the Republicans have the House).
-Divisions along ethnic/racial lines (non-white for one candidate, whites mostly for another).
-Political interests ability to stoop to using the legislative process (and marginally logical arguments) to justify suppressing voter turnout (despite there being no statistical proof of fraud).
-Political infighting between cliques.
Beyond any doubt, other divisions will be made apparent in the upcoming days, weeks, and months ahead. As a result, we shouldn't expect the newly re-elected President to give a Sally Field Academy Award-like speech ("They love me...they really, really love me!"), as his victory--combined with a divided Congress--was hardly a mandate.
Maybe the realization of how truly divided a country we have become will wake the politicians in Washington (and in state legislatures across the country) to the need to work together, and put the needs of the people ahead of political party, ideology, or personal prejudices.