I was up late last night. Well . . . it was really early this morning. If you haven’t grasped this already, I’m an election nerd. I love the data crunching, the strategy, the pundits, the conversations about policy . . . heck, I even love the ads. (Granted, I live in Kansas. Not exactly a swing state so anytime we actually get a political ad, it’s a big deal.)

So I was up late / early. My wife and daughter spent much of the time with me watching the results come in and listening to pundit reactions. But neither made it to Governor Romney’s or President Obama’s speeches.


But I was moved by both speeches. Romney was short and to the point.

At a time like this we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work, and we citizens also have to rise to occasion.

I believe in the people of America. And I ran for office because I”m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure.

I especially liked

put the people before the politics.

President Obama provided an inclusive, hopeful speech that focused on unity rather than division.

I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time, whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone, whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests.

But . . . elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future.

We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America . . . That’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states.

And I know there are disappointed voters across the country. But I think the tone and the content of what Obama had to say was a great way to continue the work started four years ago.

As an admitted history nerd, I love election returns of any kind but I especially enjoyed hearing from both Romney and Obama reference the strength of the country, the common values we share, and the need to look to the future.

I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or (who) you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you try.

And so no matter who you voted for, there can still be cause for celebration that the system works. My son voted for the first time. And he didn’t have to worry about tanks in the streets, about soldiers camped out in front of polling places, about riots in the streets between supporters of opposing candidates.

The system works. The political ideas first articulated in 1787 are still sound. The social ideals of 1776 are, perhaps, coming closer to reality. And that together, we can create a better place for our kids.

Out of many, one.