E Pluribus Unum- “Out of many, one”. Engraved on every single American bill and coin, this Latin phrase reminds Americans of the importance of economic growth during the next four years.
For swing state Wisconsin resident Anna Steinbrecher, the morning after the elections was difficult. “I got to bed at about 4 AM. I’m running on a lot of Starbucks and adrenaline right now”.
For others, like independent freelance journalist Stuart Sipkin of swing state Colorado, the election was just another night at home with the family. Sipkin says Obama’s victory is proof that no matter how divisive the days leading up to the election might be, the end result is a coming together of the people. “I voted for Obama, but I don’t think Romney is a bad person. Everyone wants the best for the country they come from, and that’s what I saw at these events”. Socially liberal Republicans may have chosen not to vote at all, or they voted for Obama because Romney’s policies were too extreme. The Hispanic vote turned Colorado into a blue state, even though Hispanic voters tend to be split. The anti-immigration stance of the Republican party was the dealbreaker”.
Immigration has transformed the American political landscape in huge ways
Anna, who works at the Institute for Latino Research Policy in Chicago, expanded on the changing demographics of swing states: “According to a report by the Huffington Post, about 70% of the Latino vote went to Obama. Despite failing to pass things like the “Dream Act”, and also despite the differences in voting behaviors between different Hispanic groups (Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans), Obama seems to be perceived by the Latino community as being the most in touch with their needs.” Over the past 30 years, immigration has transformed the American political landscape in huge ways. Appealing to the rich in election campaigns is no longer a viable means to becoming president of the United States.
Speaking of gamechangers, most people agree that the decisive points in Obama’s victory were the debates. Kristopher Radder, a freelance journalist from New York, said: “That was the turning point where you saw this man get fired up and it was almost like a second wind for the last coming weeks of the elections. Also, the photos of him coming out with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie show bipartisanship. He can put away political differences during hard times, and that says a lot.” Kristopher added that at all the events he attended, the most remarkable thing was to see people of starkly different backgrounds standing side by side, just like Obama and Christie did.
“Obama can put away political differences during hard times, and that says a lot.”
Teamwork is more complex than it appears, but politics has not changed that much since the first American election. Jefferson and Adams invoked images of hell and called each other secret monarchists in the 17th century. This strong link between religion and politics is still prevalent in America today: “At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing… And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.” In his concession speech, Romney acknowledged the need for cooperation in the government that rejected him from office, bidding farewell to a population whose demographic has morphed beyond the scope of his party.
Bipolarisation of politics is old news. Anna Steinbrecher said “Although there is no way to measure public opinion from the 1860s, it is suspected that the country’s opinion is as divided as it was during the Civil War. This means less compromise in politics. In a “too big to fail” country like the US, this polarization means that the consequences made here affect the whole world.”. Although it is still too early to tell what the global repercussions will be, the 2012 election is different because the average American has more representation than ever before.
Bringing meaning to the name “United States of America”
In a time when the country’s general political stance is drifting to the right, a Democratic leader has been re-elected as president of the United States. Whether this is due to immigration or the realization that some social issues should remain outside the realm of government control is still unclear. What is clear is that a majority of the people share common values, and everyone wants the best for their country. After all the personal attacks, public facades, and private jokes, Americans know how to put their differences aside for the common good, bringing meaning to the name “United States of America”.
Note: This piece was also published on Citizenside. You can find the original here.