Now begins the transformation that makes America great
By Michael Lewis
Voters are still casting ballots in a tempestuous election as I write this. Views are strong. Contrasts are evident.
So are divisions. Tempers run high. The tone of campaign ads is as downright nasty as I've ever seen.
No doubt my candidates will triumph and constitutional and charter vote outcomes will match my choices. After all, voters must realize the obvious - which is what I say it is.
You probably feel the same way - there is no doubt, no compromise, no other way to vote than you have. Any other choice would be odious.
My presidential candidate stands alone. So do my picks for senator and every other post. The differences are crystal clear. One side alone can possibly prevail - mine. Nothing else is imaginable. Right will triumph; wrong will be vanquished.
The choice between Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush is so obvious that only one deserves the Mister in front of his name at all. That other bum has no business within a mile of the White House.
The other side isn't due an ounce of respect - that is, until the results are in.
Because as you read this - the Good Lord, election supervisors and phalanxes of lawyers willing - only one person will remain standing in each race, from the presidency to local elections, and every question will have been decided.
And as you read this, a wonderful transformation is beginning - one that characterizes our nation and its many peoples.
In the twinkling of a ballot, the candidates that nearly half of us thought were bums will be representing us all - the 51% who thought they walked on water and the 49% who thought they couldn't find their way to the restroom.
And almost as suddenly, Americans will accept as legitimate leaders the candidates for president and vice president that almost half of us despised days before. We may never love them or even like them, but we respect the offices they hold and we uphold their rights to fulfill their sworn duties.
That transformation makes our nation mighty: We accept defeat at the polls and immediately fall in line behind the victors. Not that we don't mightily wish results had been different, not that we won't criticize actions, not that we'll rest until our views prevail. But we accept the legitimacy of elected officials at every level and accord their offices full respect.
In so doing, we make our democracy tick. In doing so, we make our society function. And in doing so, we make governance at every level possible.
Not, of course, the superior governance we would have had under our defeated candidates - but functional nonetheless.
So, if your candidate lost to one who until ballots were cast was a bum, rejoice in this - the system works, the nation endures and we advance together.
The operative word is "together." Candidates may rise or fall at the polls but united we stand in government.
The other party, after all, is not made up of ogres but of your friends and neighbors, your fellow Miamians, your fellow Americans. How bad can they be? Give them a chance - and maybe your side can persuade them of a few of your views.
Before ballots are counted, I stand on the side of virtue. My views and my candidates alone are the ones under which we must live.
But as you read this, I join you in supporting all winners' right to govern.
And, I trust, you join me - together, united and hopeful for our future.