America eventually comes back around to and lives up to its ideals. It is so thrilling to be alive to witness one of those moments. This election was a referendum on the neoconservatism that has guided American politics since the age of Reagan. Indeed, future historians may well view Barack Obama's victory as the end of the age of Reagan and the beginning of something new.
America can justifiably claim that the election outcome was a clear repudiation of conservative economic ideas and absurd claims that a more egalitarian* approach to growth constitutes "socialism." This rejection of far right ideology, the failures of the Bush administration, the shifts in public views on the economy, and the Iraq war have led to this watershed moment.
Unlike Ronald Reagan in 1980, though, Obama didn't run on an ideologically distinct platform. His victory is not a mandate for a new era of neoliberalism. Obama ran on tax cuts. Although he will end our presence in Iraq, he did not campaign on taking U.S. foreign policy in a dramatic new direction – he has been as hawkish as John McCain on Afghanistan. He did not advocate bold new social initiatives. He did not propose a leftist philosophical approach to governing, unless, after living eight years under the Bush philosophy, you consider competence to be revolutionary.
Obama’s win does not represent an embrace of neoliberalism, but rather a repudiation of the Republican Party’s harsh, far-right leaning conservatism. The far right neoconservative rulers and their wealthy friends have been sidelined. Obama will strive to govern from the middle and be everyone’s president.
The president-elect magnanimously reached out to bruised and battered conservatives in his victory address, quoting Abraham Lincoln, "We are not enemies, but friends." If Republicans will accept his extended hand of friendship, we now have an opportunity to rebuild a government tuned to the people – all the people, not just a selected few.
“… this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln
We are one nation, under God. We are not enemies. Let’s end the division and work together.
Yes, we can!
*Egalitarian: affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people.