Looking beyond party and pregnant daughters

Campaign managers, exhausted candidates and the public might praise election night as the end, seeking comfort in the fact that “The Race” is finally over even if their candidates of choice fell short.While there’s something to be said for the end of the constant character assaults and minute-to-minute polls – and there’s definitely a positive in finally walking around campus without running into Pearson, Zuckerman or Ram trying to solicit votes – we can’t forget a critical point: election night isn’t the end of an expensive and excessive political race. It’s the beginning of one.Now the stakes are higher – a bad decision during the campaign might mean losing points in the polls. A bad decision in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan could mean losing lives.The various policy plans are no longer advertisements or selling points for a candidate – as actual policy, these plans are the difference between access to health care, higher education and economic stimuli.The 2008 presidential race has taken the critical glance of the American public and shone like a flashlight into many previously dark corners of society and policy formation. But it’s also divided us, invited partisan-based moral judgments and pitted the hearts and minds of citizens against one another. Competition is vital to the success of a democracy, but for the success of the country, this same competition cannot carry through the post-election era. If we are to respond to the problems we’re being asked to face on both the national and global level, we have to see beyond the president and vice-president and pregnant daughters.As an avid Obama supporter, part of me can’t believe I’m arguing to support any man who wins, especially when I’ve come to oppose one of the candidates on every single solitary issue. But my logical side wins – in the event of a McCain victory, it would be futile to look backwards and perpetuate the national divisions so apparent pre-election.I would hope McCain supporters would similarly come around to supporting an Obama administration. But the division looms, cynics argue it’s larger than ever and people don’t always think logically.Good thing we each have the ability to make the personal decision to prove the cynics wrong. We have to stop asking our representatives to reach across the aisle and do it ourselves.