If All Goes Well 

My fellow Americans, we have just concluded another of our quadrennial presidential elections, and we trust and pray the result is one that all our citizens will embrace as the will of the people. Like most of the other elections, this one stimulated charges on both sides that,

to put it mildly, won't stand up to honest scrutiny. Americans like to fight almost as much as they like to vote, and a little extra use of the elbow is perhaps understandable under the circumstances.

But all that's over — or should be. And now we've got to heal the wounds and remember that we're all in this together. If we're honest, we have to acknowledge that the last eight years haven't exactly constituted a model period for demonstrating our unity of purpose, nor have we fully availed ourself of true consultation, not only between our two parties but between all segments of a population that has expressed itself, this time around, more fully than ever before. That's if we can believe all the analyses we've seen of who voted and where and in what volume.

And we do believe it. There's no doubting that this has been a genuine change election. Americans want some action in some important areas of their lives, and, while they may have at some level enjoyed all the discords and mud-slinging of the election, now they expect us to work together to get through these problem areas.

The first issue we've got to deal with is the economic crisis. It was a long time building, and, to tell the truth, both parties contributed to its creation. Democrats and Republicans in Congress looked the other way as the mortgage crisis got out of hand, and each party has proved too willing over the last few years to loosen the government's hand on the rudder of regulation. We've not only got to tighten the rules, we've got to recognize that this crisis has claimed innocent victims. It isn't just the banks and the investment houses and the stock market we've got to shore up. It's also the ordinary folks, struggling would-be homeowners who were coaxed into investing in the American dream and now are in need of their own rescue package.

We have some repair work to do on the foreign front, too. First of all, we need to stop the unnecessary bleeding — of human lives, of resources, of national prestige, and ruptured alliances. We need to face the fact that our true goals in the Middle East require a reallocation of effort. Afghanistan and Pakistan are now, as they were in 2001, the true focus of our fight against terror, and we have to resume the role of honest broker between our Israeli allies and the honest adherents of Palestinian statehood.

Once we have our priorities reordered, we must develop independent sources of energy that are consistent with fidelity to the environment. Before it's too late, we have to overhaul a dangerously outworn national infrastructure. And we'll need to revamp our educational system and at least get a start on a national health-care policy that befits the leading nation of the free world.

With a little hope and a lot of elbow grease, we can do these things. I know that much of the responsibility is mine. If I didn't know that, I wouldn't have worked so hard to get here. Trust me on that.

Signed, Your New President.

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