2004-11-04 | America has reason to celebrate a successful election, here is our duty

Originally published by The University Register: Campus newspaper of the University of Minnesota, Morris

Thursday, November 4, 2004 - Volume 17, Issue 8

daniel j moore

Guest Writer

We are now in the wake of democracy's great holiday and, if you'll allow me, I would like to set aside partisan persuasions for a moment and look at the bigger picture. What our nation witnessed on November 2 would, I hope, make the founders of our nation very proud. America's voters were given a choice between, predominantly, two teams of men. In the spirit of nonpartisanship, I don't want to touch on the details of those choices, but we can all agree that we had a choice to make and that more Americans than ever decided to make their voices heard.

With record numbers of voters turning out at the polls, all passionate for a cause in some form or another, we saw democracy in action. With the help of campaign volunteers, poll standers, challengers, and certified election judges, the democratic process was, for all practical purposes, successful and without significant foul. The process worked. Our campus alone saw 235 new same-day voter registrations to bring the total campus ballots to 571. And that is only a portion of the student vote, not including the precincts for people who live in town. Having had the privilege to serve as an election judge, I was amazed to see the enthusiasm with which students came to the polls, brought both friends and strangers with them, and the smile and excitement that came with donning that little red sticker. It was a beautiful day.

And then, with all of the uncertainties of our electoral process, precincts began reporting and our omniscient media outlets weighed in on the outcome. But in the end, it was the voters who spoke most clearly. And again, democracy worked its magic.

Now, with the concession of Senators Kerry and Edwards, America and the world know who will hold the office of the President of the United States for the next four years. To that man, the President, we as Americans have two obligations.

The first is to be skeptical. Our nation was founded on principles of political and social evolution, away from the status quo and toward a better experience for ourselves and for our neighbors. We owe it to the President of our country and to each other to remain skeptical of the status quo and to work as a nation for a better experience for all.

Secondly, we owe the President our respect. The President is elected by our system, despite whatever flaws might exist in it, and it is an American election. If I may quote Senator Kerry, "In an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans. And that... is the greatest privilege and the most remarkable good fortune that can come to us on Earth."

There are those Americans, however, that cannot be certain they will see tomorrow. Our nation is at war. Our friends are fighting for our freedoms around the world and for the freedoms of our neighbors. Our generation does not have the luxury of choosing whether or not to support those soldiers. It is not an option for us to ignore these brave men and women and the need for the security they strive to provide to each of us. The President has the ultimate responsibility to do everything in our nation's power to keep Americans safe, whether that means defending our homeland or keeping our soldiers out of harms way. The President is not infallible, but no other single office has this responsibility and we must respect any person upon whom the honor of this position is bestowed.

This is not a time in which we can afford to be divided. This election cycle has served to once again polarize our nation on the issues most important to our way of life. It is crucial that we come together as Americans to support the government that we have democratically elected to bring about the change in our nation and in the world for which we all hope. "America has spoken," to quote President Bush. Not one party or another, but America. It is my sincere hope that we, as Americans, might come together to find in the newly elected President the passion and dedication that it takes to hold that office and the love they have for America-our people, our spirit, our history, our government, and the hope that our nation can bring to the rest of the world.

I'd like to close by expressing my admiration once again for the spirit I saw in UMM students on election day. If we are to be the future of this great nation then I am truly inspired and encouraged by the overwhelming support for freedom of choice and democracy that I see in all of you. Whether we're pleased with the outcomes of this election or not, it was an American election. The system worked. And democracy has had another great holiday. I thank you for that.


[Author's Note, 2012] I was approached by the Feature section editor late in October, presumably because of my role as the number two for the College Republicans on campus, and asked to write a letter to the new president, whoever it was going to be. Several of my peers accepted the request along with me and I distinctly remember them spending time on November 3, the day after the election, writing their letters to George W. Bush and expressing their opinions about how he should run the country and what he should do differently his second time around. I, too, wrote mine the day after the election, but I had served as an election judge on campus and couldn't stand the thought of tilting at windmills rather than complementing my peers and presenting what I hoped was a non-partisan challenge to them all - regardless of winner.