While there were some nail-biter moments, the overall trend of election night was one of increasing confidence that Barak Obama would hold on to the White House. However, no one can mistake the difference in tone and mood of Obama’s 2008 victory night for “hope and change” and the 2012 sense of reduced expectations. The people of the United States have given President Obama a second chance to pull their economy out of the doldrums, to rein in the greed of Wall Street, to protect the middle class, and to take action on the climate crisis.
No doubt the failures in his first term must be shared with, or even primarily laid at the feet of, Republican hyper-partisan refusal to meet half-way. With the fiscal cliff in view, those Republican law makers should now be chastened by the failure at the polls. The president has no time for a victory lap, he must get right to work.
In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and the summer of parched earth and lost crops, the president must listen to his science advisor, Dr. John Holdren, and the head of climate science at NASA, Dr. James Hansen, and actually lead on climate. The world needs the U.S. to join the European Union in moving aggressively to a low-carbon economy. Barak Obama got a second chance. Let’s hope that the rest of us did too.
Elizabeth May is Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Originally published in the Huffington Post.