The American nightmare is not over, but daylight is on the horizon. Barack Obama’s reelection victory carries with it exhausted relief, not the jubilation of four years ago but a sober sense of renewal with no illusions about how much healing the body politic will need.
Yet, before the huge task of rebuilding begins, the casualty list of Election 2012 villainy deserves recognition: the SuperPac billionaires whose money bought nothing, the Karl Rove chicanery that didn’t work, the defeat of Senate weirdos and House kooks like Allen West, the unsuccessful attempts to frustrate voters with long lines and voting delays.
Despite all that, the President won not only a clear Electoral College majority but the raw vote as well.
At 2 A.M. Eastern time, he told Americans that “whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.
“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual.
“You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do.”
We certainly have, but surely we deserve a moment of exhausted gratitude for what American voters have done to keep us all from going over a Tea Party cliff.