Election is over and it’s time for us to move on

It’s time for Americans to move forward together.

We’ve had a month of indecision. Finally, the race is done. The election, with all of its divisions, is over. And Americans must work together.

President-elect George W. Bush is the genuine winner. He has earned the chance to lead us on the path that he has promised throughout the campaign: unity and bipartisanship.

It will be difficult for many of Vice President Al Gore’s supporters to forget the controversies surrounding the Florida count. Democrats can be proud that their Democratic candidate made use of legitimate routes for seeking recounts of the ballots. And Gore picked a reasonable time — the very last reasonable time — to drop the effort. Still, the recounts never quite overcame the paper-thin margins of victory that Bush received. That reality must not be forgotten.

In such a historically close election, the winner was always going to be determined in an unusual fashion. Having the election end with a U.S. Supreme Court decision makes more sense than most of the other options.

Many of us might wish that the court could have delivered a unanimous decision. But the court reasonably weighed the momentously difficult questions and circumstances. And a majority of the justices ruled legitimately and fairly against a recount process that lacked adequate safeguards to assure the country of any more mathematically valid results than what had already been received from Florida.

With the election finally decided, the country does still face a choice. America must decide whether it will concentrate on what divides us or on what unites us. Leaders throughout the country can help set the tone, for better or worse. Mr. Gore’s decision to accept the Supreme Court decision as the final answer lets us begin to look ahead.

In the days ahead, Congress must be more mature than it has been for years. The bickering and nastiness between the two parties there must be replaced with more constructive behavior.

As Democratic Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana said on Wednesday, the presidential election was essentially tied and the Senate election was absolutely tied (thanks to Maria Cantwell’s last-second win in this state). The situation calls for Democrats and Republicans working together.

As hard as it may be for some Democrats to accept today, the reality is that the president-elect may be as good a person as imaginable for working across party lines. His record in Texas has suggested as much. His openness will be a vital asset for the nation as a whole in the months and years to come.

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