What can we expect in this term?
As with every election, the candidates tell us this election is the most important election in history. Maybe, maybe not, but President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney did lay out stark contrasts in how they would govern and what policies they would pursue, congress willing.
President Obama prevailed winning a second term, and with that the American people voted decisively to follow his vision for the next four years, not that of Gov. Romney.
Now in case one would argue that the election was not an endorsement of one set of policies over another, a gentle reminder would be that both campaigns made it exceedingly clear, as did their advertising supporters, what the differences would be and what voters were voting for and against.
America chose Obama, and with that choice chose a direction for the nation.
First, the obvious choice is that America has chosen to extricate itself from Middle East foreign war, both the war ended in Iraq, and the war ending in Afghanistan.
Further, while America will always defend its interests and those of Israel with strength, we do not seek another war in that region. We will not be expanding the worlds’ largest military during peacetime, as might have been the case under Mr. Romney.
Second, after 100 years of Presidents attempting to create a national health care program that would grant access to everyone, Obamacare has brought that to full implementation in 2014. There will be problems and changes as the adoption of the system reaches completion, but it will now go forward.
Those who have opposed Obamacare need now to lay down their verbal weapons and resolve to make the system work.
Third, the nation has finally rejected the laughable “trickle down” economics that has created both incredible public debt and a re-allocation of wealth to fewer and fewer Americans.
Advocates of this policy have created a class warfare that must now end, one where supporters would argue both for tax cuts for the richest Americans while arguing for benefit cuts to the poorest Americans. Such blatant inequality has lost at the polls this year, hopefully forever.
Fourth, America has been awakened to its rich treasure of national diversity, for that recognition gave President Obama the victory. We are a people of many differences, differences we can and should embrace.
Yes, some of us chose to love others of the same sex; some chose to celebrate their ethnic heritage with food and dress and language; some chose to fight for more gender equality in both law and custom. We are a nation of different skin colors and cultural histories, one made only better by these differences.
Political parties that chose to divide people by these differences will lose at elections, as demonstrated by so many minorities voting together this week for President Obama.
Fifth, education deserves better than the demonization of teachers and the business model of higher education. President Obama promises to continue to expand the needed Pell grants, reduce the costs of college, and fund excellence in grades K through 12 working with teachers and educators.
Utilizing our universities for their research capabilities will remain a key purpose of those entities. But it is the emphasis on educational competitiveness internationally that will be our economic protection for the future, and the investment to attain that future is an Obama plan.
Sixth, we should expect to see, finally, resolution to our Immigration policies, partly as a by-product of this election. The political reality is that the American Hispanic vote is growing, and if the Republican Party does not seek to identify with Hispanics, then its fate will be cast for generations.
That means supporting construction of a humane Immigration policy that is sustainable going forward.
Finally, energy policy in America has become a source of export for the first time in generations, and with our newly accessible natural gas resources our energy security will soon be assured.
And while coal usage will fall, it will do so not because of a “war on coal” but because of the free market price of gas and its cleaner burning efficiency.
It is a new administration, one filled with promise for America.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.