So, Kerry Concedes. Apparently he will make a formal statement at 1800GMT (under an hour). It's hard to imagine what could possess half of the US to vote for Shrub, but there it is. I'm living in the UK, and have only met one person (in august) who leaned toward Bush. Nevertheless, this is the result - and we have to live with it.
Despite some irregularities which need to be stamped on, and hard (e.g. lack of paper record in some states, misregistration of voters etc) - the vote seems to have been better than in 2000. There are still massive problems in the system (e.g. media not having to be impartial, calling results before polls shut, voter registration and so on). I'm certainly surprised to have a result on the 3rd Nov, I thought it would run on.
I have seen a statement from the Whitehouse which says 'More people voted for Bush than for any other president'.
This may be true - but I do hope that the Whitehouse remembers that this is because things went right to the wire in a divided country with a bigger population than at any point in history. The challenger got the second most votes.
The worst result would be if Bush assumed that he had a mandate to press ahead regardless, to ignore the massive shot across his bows. To think that he needs to make history without the spectre of re-election. In short, as the election was so close he needs some modesty.
I won't be holding my breath.
I still think that David Brin's Suggestion is a very good one:
Imagine a candidate or new President Elect making the following pledge:
"If I become president, I promise to ask my honorable opponent to pick a panel of Americans who will have control over my appointment calendar one afternoon per month. And I expect my opponent to serve on that panel. On that afternoon, I shall meet with -- and listen to -- any individuals or delegations that panel may choose. Millions of Americans will then know that I do not live in a tower of ideological isolation. I will answer questions and hear dissenting points of view."
It would cost the incumbant nothing, except a few hours of time once a month. It would be a superb gesture. Imagine if this had been said in the campaign... it could have been followed with the question 'I wonder if my opponent will make the same pledge?'
I have my fingers crossed that Bush will seek to unite, especially in the international arena. He promised to be a uniting leader in 2000 and we were disappointed. Let us hope not to be disappointed again.