The political campaigns of 2008 were among the most hotly contested and contentious races in recent memory.
Candidates in local, state and national races stirred voters and sent them to the polls in record numbers. Americans felt more passionate about their candidates than in many years.
Those passions drove many voters to the polls, but they also may be difficult for many voters to leave behind following the election. It may take some time for the nation to come back together, but come together we must.
Two good men represented the Republicans and Democrats in the presidential race. Only one could win. As a nation we should hope that the winner will waste no time reaching out to his opponent and others who have been on the opposite side of the campaign battleline. Campaigns are about trying to highlight differences and point out shortcomings. Governing in a democracy is about working together and finding solutions.
At the local level, a number of races for the Kansas Legislature also were hotly contested. The 2nd District congressional race prompted some heated exchanges. Two open seats on the Douglas County Commission drew considerable interest. That kind of competition between able, qualified candidates is what keeps our democracy strong.
Political campaigns shouldn't be personal, but that isn't always the case. After a tough election campaign, it's understandably difficult for some candidates, and their followers, to put personal issues aside. The presidential candidates spent two years or more of their lives on these campaigns, subjecting themselves and their families to unparalleled scrutiny. At the state and local level, candidates have appeared in forums, answered questions and campaigned door to door. Whether candidates are running for president or a local office, it takes courage to put their names on the ballot and commit themselves to public service. All of the candidates deserve our respect.
The election is over. It's time to get on with the job of governing. It's only human for those who lost the election and those who supported them to be disappointed, even a little bitter, but we must move forward. The voters of the world's strongest democracy have spoken, and members of both parties must put their differences aside and focus their energies on the many important and difficult issues facing the nation.