The circus is over, the votes are in and everyone in the USA, and governments around the world – who appreciate the impact of the election on global politics – will know where they stand for the next four years.
Whilst it’s important to have a charismatic figurehead to stand on the world stage and be taken seriously, let’s not be under any illusion that the figurehead personally runs the nation – and that’s what voters forget in the hype and hysteria of election time.
I expected Obama to win – for a variety of reasons – but what has interested me, and kept me up late last night, was watching all the results role in.
The Presidential race is not the sole item on ballot papers in the election. Never forget the country is made up of states with their own identities, histories and cultures, and those states vote for Senators, Representatives and state Governors to represent them, along with proposed state legislature, including gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana.
Votes for Congress may have more impact on how the USA moves forward than the political colour of the presidential mantle. As of today the Republicans hold the balance of power in the House of Representatives with 228 of the 435 seats, while in the Senate the Democrats hold 52 of the 100 seats.
The race for state Governors shows more Republican Governors elected than Democrats.
The Presidential vote, state by state, makes interesting reading too. Those states won by the Democrats were won with 50-67% of the vote. Those by the Republicans with 54-69% of the vote – Utah, unsurprisingly, with the highest percentage, 73%.
Not quite the Democratic landslide some of the media would have us believe.
What is clear is the American people are pretty much split between the parties, that the election could have gone either way. Simply, most Americans want the same things despite their political philosophies – freedom of the individual, free speech, medical and welfare systems that are fair and not abused, sound laws and good housekeeping. The rest is rhetoric.
The real job of running the country will be undertaken by hardworking individuals in Congress, and at the ground-roots level of each state, keeping the wheels of the country on track. Checks and balances, the linchpin of American democracy.
It is these individuals with whom the people have a bond of trust, who quietly get on with the job and are committed to making their country a better place to live, work and raise a family.
Many able candidates don’t stand for Presidential office because they have no wish to put their families under the spotlight, aware the baying packs of news hounds will ferret out any negative behaviour and plaster it across the world. There are many prospective candidates in the country who have gained the admiration and respect of the people, but who will not put themselves through the hoops a Presidential race demands.
Colin Powell is a man I would vote for, whatever his politics, but he walked away in 1998. It is people of his calibre, with real leadership skills, quiet dignity, solid values and love of country who are the backbone of America.
Which is why I believe the man at the top isn’t the most important person in the USA, although the position he holds most definitely is.