Thursday, November 8, 2012

Congratulations Mr. President. What Happens Now?

So President Obama is in for a second term, the House remains to the conservatives and the Senate is still in Democratic control. While it seems a repeat of the first four years, there is one minor difference. Presidents who win a second term are bolder because they don't seek re-election. At best, President Obama will move away from his need for inclusion and make bold decisions. He has no other choice, considering the issues at stake these next four years.

First on his plate will be the expiring tax cuts at year's end. It's time to end the gridlock ends and step away from political bantering. What we need are decisions that make sound policies. Our politicians need to stop compromising their constituents' trust and hampering the country's growth.

Then there's the economy. President Obama could have done a much better job the first time around but his need for consensus is a problem. Another term will allow the president to prove he is capable of turning things around for the country.

Obamacare is here to stay, and it is time to give the plan a real chance. Whether or not it was a good idea remains to be seen, but our health care industry was a mess and in dire need of an overhaul. This was a good place to start, although four states have allocated the power to choose to the people. Montana, Wyoming and Alabama gave their citizens the right to choose coverage, and Missouri voted to create health-care exchanges through a popular vote or legislation.

The gay community saw victory in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, which made it easier for same-sex couples to tie the knot. Pot users, rejoice. Although Massachusetts voted marijuana in for medical purposes only, Colorado and Washington have now allowed for its recreational use. The latter two states have simplified the tourism industry's future predictions to a no-brainer: guess who's getting an influx of visitors over the next year?

Locally, I was disappointed to learn that Oklahomans moved to ban affirmative action. I can't claim to be a firm supporter of the initiative, although its benefits are noted and important. It has helped blacks and women receive a fair chance in society, although research has been pretty tepid about its effectiveness now. But unless affirmative action can be replaced with a better policy then it should continue to be supported. No one should be turned down because of their race or gender, and unfortunately this still happens in the 21st century.

We shall see where these decisions take us into the next four years. Whether or not they will help build a better America or create a greater divide remains to be seen.

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