The post-concession conversations are still focused more on personalities than on purpose, which doesn't surprise me, but it does disappoint me. Yes, Al Gore gave his best speech, he looked his most human, and the experience of being vanquished is doubtless going to give him time to reflect and grow. It isn't a matter of national importance.
Yes, George W. Bush gave a classic, expected, olive-branch speech punctuated with a laundry list of programs that the new administration will have to deal with. He looked quite relaxed, but media commentators keep focusing on his teleprompter dependence. Hollywood could furnish speechmakers, even orators. The nation needs a president, and public speaking is something that usually improves with practice. Dubya was coming off a rigorous 36-day post-election fight not seen in this century ... the media wants an instant Ronald Reagan?
For me, it is time to get past the personalities, even though we as a nation have been focused on personalities for the past eight years due to the Clinton era of high-profile presidency and liberal agendas mixed with an assortment of personal foibles.
Maybe we need to reassess America after what we have seen. It is not the country I was born in, it isn't the country I grew up in. It is the product of the changing socio-economic and ethnic elements in its cultural and electoral base. It has even changed radically in the 20 years since Ronald Reagan was elected. And make no mistake, many Americans in the 80's did not like the Reagan administration, but that administration laid the groundwork for the prosperity that blossomed during the past eight years.
There has only been one time in my life that I observed a united
America, and that was during World War II. Of course, I was too
young to understand what was going on other than it was very
frightening, but Americans were focused on the nation, the war, and
the push for victory.
It is also appropriate to insert a caution here: earnings reports, announcements of layoffs, downsizings and mergers are coming over the news all the time. The previous five years of incredible prosperity were due to consumer demand resulting from the technology revolution. We're going into a plateau that some of us have been predicting for over two years. If anyone thought the Christmas-like prosperity of the past seven years could have no end, they were living on some other planet.
The focus now should be on the Congress, both the House and Senate. These entities hold the key to progress or gridlock, and it is hoped that they will follow the 10-80-10 rule: ten percent at either end are extremists, and the work gets done by the eighty percent in the middle.
Ideological differences will not change, but the means for handling them must or we will have a failed nation after a frustrating election. This is Dubya's greatest challenge, and he is painfully aware of it.
The wisdom of conservatism will now have to be proved as this nation enters 2001 and the years that follow. Government intervention is at times appropriate but the best route is always to avoid the need for it.
Perhaps as the vanquished, Al Gore's true test of sincerity about unity will be to see if he can get Jesse Jackson to shut up and do something constructive in a quiet and effective way rather than creating fear and havoc.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have the task of rebuilding an ailing nation that doesn't yet seem to realize that we are a shaky superpower in a very dangerous world.
The last thing we need to be (and the first we seem to do) is become our own worst enemy.
The world is watching. Some of it is curiosity, but much of the watching is a search for weakness and the opportunity to strike further blows at our nation, whether by terrorism or by infiltration.
Yes, the call for unity amidst diversity is an old political cliche. But if we don't get unity on the major issues facing us, our future will be history.
© Dorothy Anne Seese
View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.