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Seven rules for moving forward post-election

DRIVING home early Wednesday morning, listening to President Barack Obama's victory speech on the radio, I got depressed.

My guy didn't win.

But it wasn't just about losing; it's about my fundamental belief that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and four more years of an Obama administration will take us farther away from where we should be on the country's most pressing problems - the expansion of the power of government and the crushing debt.

But what do you do if you're on the losing side?

Here's my pep talk to myself:

  • First, don't mope. We had a very long campaign. Both sides got plenty of chances to reach the American people.
  • Yes, the popular vote was close, but Obama won. Deal with it.

  • Second, disregard the kookiness. Delete without reading all emails suggesting in the subject line that President Obama is going to take away our guns.
  • Third, take a deep breath. Have faith in the resilience of Americans. We are still a free and secure people, guaranteed at least an equal opportunity to make something of ourselves and our families.
  • Fourth, get serious about solving the nation's most pressing problems by being willing to at least consider that the other guy might, just might, have a good idea.
  • Fifth, contemplate the best way to win the next election without vilifying the current office holder for the next four years. America has been through the most negative campaign in history; we could use a break.
  • Sixth, don't be afraid. This was not the outcome for conservative 57-year-old white guys like me. Let's face it; my group may have gotten spoiled over the years.
  • It's probably OK that we don't get to write most of the rules anymore.

  • Seventh, don't fret about the country being divided. The country's always divided, except in times of national emergencies. Talk radio and the cable channels often make the division seem worse than it actually is.
  • I'm not sure if I can follow my own rules, especially given my job as a radio talk show host. The position requires that I stir up a certain amount of trouble. Additionally, sometimes my frustration gets the best of me.

    Plus, I'm nagged by the possibility that we have reached a tipping point in the country, beyond which lies a fundamentally changed America that will be less for our children and grandchildren than it has been for me. (see rule number six.)

    But the seven rules are at least some guidelines for me going forward.

    I was raised to respect the president of the United States and to love my country, not in a jingoistic way, but rather in a principled way.

    The concepts of freedom and liberty, sacrifice and earned success, the rule of law and a society that promotes and values upward mobility, mean much more than the success or failure of individual politicians.

    So I'll try to approach the future without anger or bitterness. The country, while faced with immense problems, remains, as Ronald Reagan said all his political life, a shining city on a hill.

    Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.


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