By Carlos Campo
A light rain fell and a surprisingly frosty wind chilled the citizens waiting in the serpentine line. There was a seriousness in this group, a sense that their vote this morning would be momentous, more so than any previously cast. Today, with a few days’ hindsight, Election Day 2012 was surely an historic one, one that further emphasized a number of truths about the America we live in today.
Today’s America is divided ideologically. It is in a fiscal crisis. It is facing unprecedented challenges.
We are not so unlike the America of 1932, reeling from an economic crunch, and electing Franklin D. Roosevelt with 57 percent of the popular vote. Voter turnout was similar as well, with 56.9 percent in ‘32 and about 57 percent this year. But the question remains, though: Can today’s America find enough common ground and collective determination to rise above the challenges that lie ahead and emerge with excellence once again?
Perhaps it is because I am an educator—or perhaps because I have been imbued with the optimism of my Irish mother and Cuban father—but I believe there is still great hope for our nation. It will take more than the “Indivisible” bracelets offered by a national coffee purveyor. It will certainly take more than political haranguing or ideological demagoguery. And it will take each of us revisiting the values that we know have led to our greatness; values that transcend any political party. As idealistic as it sounds, we will have to begin, neighbor to neighbor, to share our vision for our future. A future that includes greater educational opportunities and an insistence on family, freedom and fiscal responsibility. A future with an engaged people, connected by hopes for an innovative nation, an exceptional nation, a nation that is uncompromisingly proud of its heritage, where even faith is not divisive, but healing.
An America that focuses on the colors of purple majestic mountains and amber waves of grain, and not on red, yellow, black, brown and white. A post-election dream? A wish more than a reality? Perhaps, but Americans have always exceeded expectations.
Dr. Carlos Campo serves as president of Regent University. He is focused on championing Regent as a premier regional asset to the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and a collaborative partner in the community. He serves on numerous educational and scholarly boards and organizations, to include the International Association of University Presidents, the National Council on Foreign Relations, the American Literature Association, the Urban League of Hampton Roads, the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, the National Alliance