I finally went to sleep at midnight Tuesday still uncertain, but by six o'clock the next morning I awoke to what I expected. For a couple of hours I read the newspaper and listened to the so-called "analysis" of the election, hoping to find one article, guest speaker, news reporter or network anchor who would correctly announce what had actually happened, and what this election really meant. Sad to say, the elite of the media, many politicians, party leaders and all the high-priced analysts still do not get the message.
The historical results of this mid-term election were not about the failures of Democrats or the successes of Republicans. It had nothing to do with party lines, single issues, nor was it about liberal or conservative ideology. It was the American people, of all ethnic and racial backgrounds and all parties, letting everyone know that they were no longer willing to accept business as usual.
The American people, myself included, are afraid, and we voted accordingly. Since the tragic events of 9/11, we are uncertain about our safety. With the economy in the doldrums, we are uncertain about our financial futures. The whole world has become a dark, confusing and dangerous place, and all the while our elected politicians have been nit-picking, politicizing, dividing us and obstructing policies that may bring normalcy back to our lives. We are fed up with the whole political mess, and this was the real message sent by our votes.
This vote was also for President George W. Bush, the man. The media and world leaders have long been scratching their heads, wondering why Bush is so popular with Americans. It is not hard to figure out if you are just a simple citizen, with no more power than a single vote. Bush is not a typical career politician. He is not a lawyer (as are most politicians) with a silver and often-forked tongue, spinning words the way the diplomatic or political elite of the world wants to hear them. He is everything the rank-and-file American citizen likes, and the rest of the world hates. He is more comfortable in blue jeans and boots than a suit, prefers to kick back on a ranch full of scrub bush and horny toads, drive a Ford pickup rather than a limousine, and enjoys a good barbecue much more than goose liver paté and caviar. He is not like Bill Clinton or even his father, the senior George. But, the American people love him, because he is genuine. He feels the way we do. We know that when tears cloud his eyes they are real, and when he speaks with emotion, it comes from the heart. We trust him, not as a politician, but as a man.
Proof is in pudding. For the next two years President Bush has the ability to deliver, and deliver he must! He can seize on this opportunity to do more than just wage war. He can stimulate the economy and create jobs. He can make us feel safer. He can change the entire tax system so that it is fair and simple. He can get badly needed judges on the bench. He can provide genuine help for our children and elderly. He can solve the health-care problem.
Few presidents have the chance to become great men. The American voters have given Bush this chance. If he fails to deliver now, come 2004 we will vote for someone who can.
And, this is what really happened in the mid-term elections of 2002!