The election is over. I respect and honor Sen. John McCain for campaigning honorably but also for losing honorably. It takes a good man to win with honor, but only a truly great man can lose with honor. Sen. McCain has honorably served this nation for more than 50 years and I respect him as a statesman, a candidate and a true patriot.
Divisive and partisan attacks followed the slow trickle of election results in 2000 and 2004. In 2000, Americans waited through weeks of limbo before an election winner finally emerged. During President George Bush's decisive 2004 victory, John Kerry hung on to the last thread, refusing to concede until the following day. This year, John McCain took the high road - his timely concession speech showed his great respect for our American republic.
Soon our nation will have a new president, and while he may not have been my first choice, he will be president. As an American citizen, I have the responsibility to respect our democratically elected leader.
"He's not my president."
This is a phrase I really don't like and have grown particularly tired of hearing over the past eight years. This phrase really represents a lack of respect for our freedom to fairly elect our representative leaders. The presidency is far more than one person and our government is far more than one nation. Our nation represents the last great hope for any nation on earth, if we cannot unite, who can? I am calling on everyone, McCain Democrats and rock-ribbed conservatives, to support President-elect Barack Obama.
We live in a democracy, not a dictatorship. The president is our only nationally elected representative and we should treat any president not as an impending enemy, but as partner for the future. I did not vote for Barack Obama, but on Nov. 20, 2008, he will still be my president. I promise to give every one of his proposals fair and even consideration. The Republican Party should not become the Anti-Obama party, but rather the loyal opposition.
After his 2000 victory, then Texas Gov. Bush told the nation "the president of the United States is the president of every single American, of every race and every background." To date, he has fulfilled his promise of building broad coalitions and governing across party lines.
On this most recent election night, Sen. Obama called on all of us to "resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long." I agree with both of these statements from both of these American leaders.
As I round out the election season, I call on our new president to not be a pawn of few, but a leader of many. I call on my fellow conservatives not to be Obama-haters, but the loyal and fair opposition. This election was truly historic. I respect Sen. Obama, his supporters and my fellow Americans. I look forward to seeing Democrats and Republicans come together to govern this country and run our government cheaply, efficiently and fairly.
Marcus Bowen is a former vice president of the MU College Republicans and serves with the Jackson County Republican Party. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.