For better or worse we have elected Barack Obama to a second term. For the record I am not bitter. I chose my candidate and cast my vote for the person whom I thought could do the best job. I got out-voted.
So be it.
Since I have never joined a political party, I am still technically an independent and cast my vote accordingly. These days I tend to lean toward the conservative candidates, which means I usually vote for the Republican.
Such has not always been the case.
There was a time when the Democratic candidate seemed to be the best choice. I never was a bomb-throwing liberal, but in my younger days I was open to liberal arguments on the social side of politics.
As I have aged I have adopted a more conservative view. I still believe that we are our brothers’ keepers. I just do not think the government should take over that responsibility.
Apparently the other side of that argument makes up a larger segment of our society than those who look at things the way I do. Many of them, I fear, have yet to realize that there is a bottom to the well of public funds, and I wonder what will happen when that well runs dry.
There are those who are clamoring for a third party. The chance of that coming to fruition is highly unlikely.
The Democrats proved in this election that they have the ear of the majority of voters. Although the map of the nation contained a large number of Red States as the vote count came in, the Blue states were more than enough to give the win to the Democrats.
Granted, the Republican Party maintained its majority in the House of Representatives, but it lost ground in the Senate. And the loss of the presidency to one of the most liberal presidents ever to hold that office should be a wakeup call to the GOP.
In order for it to be an effective party on the national scene some changes have to be made.
Those of us who were around when Jimmy Carter was elected president still remember what was said of the Republican Party after President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace.
Many political pundits expounded on the demise of the GOP. Commentator after commentator spoke of the need for the Party to simply disband and reorganize under another name.
But the Republican Party was long from dead.
The combination of an ineffective president in Jimmy Carter and the rise of Ronald Reagan brought the Republican Party back to life. And it arose stronger than ever.
In 1964, when I first voted, those who supported the Republican Party were always viewed as outside the mainstream of Middle America. They were viewed as big business and big money people who had no concept of what it was like to live from paycheck to paycheck.
In the late 1960s Independents, which have always made up the percentage of voters who can swing an election either way, swung to the right and elected Nixon. His actions soured them and they swung back.
But Reagan’s message to American resonated with the ordinary Joe and Jane and they accepted the idea that the GOP was not just about big business and big money. Reagan’s message reached people who theretofore had ignored the Republican Party.
For the GOP to succeed in subsequent elections it must change. The leadership has to devise a plan to deal with the ultra-conservatives. They will have to accept the idea that people do not like anyone, right or left, telling them how they should live their lives.
The abortion issue has to go away. You might not like it. I might not like it. Your neighbor might not like it. But it is not going to change. It is time for the conservative element to understand that no woman is going to accept anyone telling her what to do with her body.
If that wasn’t proved in this election with the defeat of two Senatorial candidates because of their utter ignorance in answering questions on the subject then those who haven’t realized it are blind or simply too hard-headed to get it.
The Republican Party has to reach out to independent voters in the same way the Democrats have always managed to do. The GOP must understand that meddling in the private lives of the American voter is wrong, whether you are a liberal or a conservative.
No one wants the government looking over their shoulder. What we want is a government that stays out of our lives while protecting us. We need politicians who understand less government is better.
Our nation is divided. It is more divided now than any other time in recent history. We need a Party that will pull us back together. We need candidates who understand this nation is neither liberal nor conservative. We need candidates who understand that this nation is much more than whether one stands with a Donkey or an Elephant politically.
We need a Congress and a President who understands the art of compromise in Washington does not mean compromising the welfare of this nation.
We need leaders who will look to the Founding Fathers and learn how they dealt with disagreement and division.
And we need a Party that will provide us with candidates from which we can select the leaders that we can trust to do the job once they are there.
Kerlin’s roots go back generations in southwestern Fayette County. He’s a regular columnist for this newspaper.