U.S. Election: The
'Best thing that Could Happen to the Cradle of Liberty' (El Espectador,
now give a much more liberal orientation to his government. Since he is no
longer bound to defend his reelection, he will have far wider political latitude
and should, therefore, become much more involved in decisions regarding
minorities, returning to a conviction to his original agenda. ... Let Obama seize
the respite provided him by his country. He has no time to lose."
The message was powerful. When it seemed that a profound
conservative radicalization was growing in force around the world, cheered on, of course,
by the greatest power on earth, the liberal sphere shook off its doldrums this
Tuesday in the United States.
This is one sphere that understands the diversity and
equality of the individual within acknowledged limits. Much remains to be done before
he can claim ultimate victory, but the triumph of Barack Obama, marked by a
considerable departure from the pessimism that prevailed before and the significant
results of various ballot initiatives at the state level, are a good indication
of a changed reality. This is the best thing that could happen to the cradle of
liberty, the United States, and by extension, the world.
Just as the contenders, Obama and Romney, nervously
awaited the results of the Electoral College vote, 170 ballot initiatives were
decided on across the country. The results are palpable: Colorado and
Washington voted in favor of the recreational use of marijuana, showing the
world that it's possible to leave decisions about their own state of health to
the people. Likewise, in three states (again Washington, Maryland and Maine), our
northern neighbor backed the legalization of abortion - the right of all women
to make decisions about their bodies and sexuality. The same happened with gay
marriage in other states. As last but not least, for the first time, an openly
lesbian woman won a Senate seat. It is, as a whole, a package that has
“tolerance toward the individual” tattooed all over it.
Thus, the prohibition of [once taboo] social behavior is
gradually becoming part of humanity’s dark past. Progress is undeniable. That
is why a reelected President Obama should take advantage of the circumstances
and in the next four years send forward a much more resounding message to an
eagerly-watching world; and above all, to an electorate that ultimately made the
difference by choosing him: women, seniors, African Americans, members of LGBT community and Latinos. It is no accident that this
electoral powerhouse defeated Republicans, White heterosexual men opposed to
basic civil liberties. The weight of those votes was pretty big - and the world
has surely heard the message.
What's next for Obama? Or rather, what should we expect of
him? The U.S. president will have to tackle several problems closing in on his
country. The first, of course, is the polarization that reached such excessive force
during the election. But in addition, he should define himself on the threat of
massive tax increases beginning in January 1 next year, immigration reform,
withdrawal from Afghanistan, climate change and unemployment, among others, which
are the outstanding issues on his agenda.
Now, Obama's biggest problems center on two areas. The
first is governance, since a majority in the House remains in Republican hands.
In order to carry out his promises, he will at least have to win the support of
the wing of moderate Republicans. One of his themes during the campaign was to
denounce the “miniscule support” that the opposition party gave his proposals.
He will need to build coalitions if his government wants to get anywhere, and that
goes for making a dent on fiscal matters, too.
Secondly, he should give a much more liberal orientation
to his government. Since he is no longer bound to defend his reelection, he
will have far wider political latitude and should, therefore, become much more
involved in decisions regarding minorities, returning to a conviction to his original
Let Obama seize the respite provided him by his country. He
has no time to lose.