After months of constant advertisements and campaign events, the election is finally over. But what is just beginning is the Republican Party’s search for its soul and its new direction.
It's quite clear that the direction the party is heading in now is not working for the American people. On November 6, Americans rejected what the Republicans have been promoting over the last few years.
They refused to accept the idea that the wealthy shouldn't have to pay more in taxes than the middle class. They rejected the viewpoint that a woman doesn't have the right to an abortion even when she's been raped or the victim of incest. They rejected the notion that women are not capable of making their own health choices in general. They rejected the idea that a gay or lesbian person shouldn't be allowed to marry the love of their life. And they were furious about the attempts of many Republican lawmakers to suppress every citizen’s constitutional right to vote.
Americans are starting to realize that the Republican Party in its current state does not represent the kind of country the United States should be. We aren't a nation that tells some citizens they have no right to marry the person they love. We don't tell brave and patriotic Americans that they can't serve in the US military because of their sexual orientation. We don't tell women what to do with their bodies. We are a nation that wants everyone to succeed, not just the wealthy. And we are a nation that doesn’t discourage, but encourages citizens to vote.
Many Republicans will read this and immediately refute all of the claims I've just made. But Vice President Biden has a great saying when it comes to this, "Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value." GOP lawmakers; when you say you love and respect women but you cut funding for crucial services such as Planned Parenthood, or you write laws that redefine the horrific crime of rape, or you tell a woman she can't choose what to do with her body after she's been violated in an unspeakable manner, then you can't blame people for thinking you truly are against women.
The same goes for when you say you respect and "have no problem" with gay people but then deny them the basic human right that is marriage. And the same goes for when you claim to represent the middle and lower classes but then refuse to raise taxes on the wealthiest individuals. The middle and lower classes have been waiting for decades for proof that the “trickle-down” theory works, and they haven’t received this proof yet. GOP lawmakers therefore can’t fault people for thinking the Republican Party’s economic policies only benefit the wealthy.
Republicans can argue all they want that they represent what America is "supposed" to be. But they seem to forget the fact that America is all about progression towards more justice, equality, and fairness. Think about how far we've come as a nation. Having black skin no longer makes you a slave or forces you to use inferior facilities due to segregation. Being a woman no longer means you can't vote. Seniors can retire securely and with dignity thanks to social security. And women no longer have to be ashamed of being victims of domestic violence due to the Violence Against Women Act. The list of all the positive changes this country has experienced goes on and on.
The human make-up of this nation is changing. There are now more women in college than men. Non-white citizens will soon outnumber white citizens. The number of people coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is growing. The Republican Party can no longer just represent the old white men of this country. They can’t maintain the attitude that white men are the center of conversation and everyone else is simply excluded. The GOP must find ways to attract women, Latinos, African Americans, ethnic minorities, LGBT individuals, young people, and persons with disabilities if they want to succeed in the future.
President Obama spoke the truth on election night when he said our best days are ahead of us, and Vice President Biden was right when he said Americans should feel more confident about our nation now than we ever have in history. The United States isn’t on the decline; it’s getting stronger and fairer everyday. We are so lucky to have a President who understands this. He needs to be and should be taken seriously. He is the leader of the free world, he is 100% legitimate, and people need to start giving him the respect he so rightfully deserves. Only when both parties work together and everyone respects President Obama will this country reach its greatest potential.