Americans went to the polls this week and overwhelmingly voted “Yes” for Barack Obama, putting an end, we hope, to more than a year of vicious, slanderous, and libelous messages about the president-elect.
He’s a secret Muslim. He’s a terrorist sympathizer. He went to a madrassa. Voting for Obama is like voting for Hitler in 1933.
Must we go on?
We cannot and will not argue that Obama does not have his faults. He has many, but that is not the point. The campaign against him – not necessarily run with John McCain’s blessing – engaged in distortions, half-truths, and blatant lies.
Now that Obama has been elected we hope there will be an end to all of these divisive messages because we need to unite. For better or for worse, Barack Obama is going to be the 44th president.
And he has a lot on his plate.
At home, the economic crisis and U.S. oil-dependency are crying out for immediate attention. With a Democrat-controlled Congress, Washington is united, but Tuesday’s results showed that America is not. Obama will have to work hard to heal the fractures of this past election, just as he did after a bitter primary with Hillary Clinton.
Abroad, Obama faces an emboldened Iran in the pursuit of nuclear technology and – quite possibly – nuclear weapons. We still must find a resolution to the war in Iraq that brings our soldiers home quickly and safely but does not leave Iraq in a worse position than it is now. Israel, soon to be engaged in its own election, is negotiating with the Palestinians and Syrians. President Bush’s hands-off policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a failure, but President Clinton’s shuttle diplomacy didn’t succeed, either. Obama must engage the parties but not impose his own solution on them.
At the same time, Hamas and Hezbollah have fused themselves into Gaza and Lebanon’s governments and thus given themselves infinite “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. President Obama must address these terrorist organizations and work toward either their disbanding or turning them into purely political parties like Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland.
Not all of us may be holding up Obama banners, but we must unite behind him if our country is going to face the challenges ahead.