Anyone who read our last issue knows that I was leaning towards endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for U.S. President in this year’s election, based on his solid performance in the first debate against President Obama. I also noted that because there were still two Presidential debates remaining when I went to press with that issue, I wasn’t going to be making an official endorsement until after all three set-tos.

So, even though I thought the President did a much better job in rounds two and three than he had in the first debate, in our November 3 New Tampa issue, I still endorsed — and then voted for — Gov. Romney.

In other words, my candidate lost. It was an amazingly close dogfight, where both men basically got almost 50 percent of the vote nationwide but, as everyone in this country knows, Pres. Obama earned four more years with the voters by virtue of winning both the popular vote (by about 1% of 110,000,000 votes) and the Electoral College, even though Florida still hadn’t been called at our press time.

Like most of you, I was definitely over the months of negative campaigning on both sides as one of the closest elections in history unfolded. Yes, the candidate I endorsed lost, but I also had endorsed Obama in 2008 and — as I also retold last issue — I felt my business has done a little better the last couple of years (this year in particular) and that since I could see signs of an economic uptick here in my little corner of the Tampa Bay area, I would be OK no matter who became president this time, despite having philosophical differences with both candidates.

For example, while I would like to agree that everyone in this country should have health care, I don’t feel a compulsive need, as a small business owner, to have to pay for everyone else to have it. Likewise, while I can understand why Gov. Romney is personally opposed to abortion, I still feel that Planned Parenthood provides many other services and that the people who genuinely need those services don’t deserve to have the rug pulled out from under them.

But, I have to tell you that the rhetoric that hit places like Twitter and Facebook moments after Obama was declared the winner of the election have made me much more concerned about the future of our country than anything this President may do over the next four years.

First of all, how many of the millions of people who have posted anti-Obama Facebook messages — calling him everything from a Muslim to anti-Israel and from Chairman Mao to Adolf Hitler — didn’t even go to the polls to cast a ballot? Even if they did vote, how many of them went knocking on doors in their neighborhood to remind their neighbors that a) they shouldn’t forget to vote and b) who they should vote for? And, wouldn’t Romney have had a better chance of winning had he picked Marco Rubio or Condoleezza Rice as his running mate, rather than a guy who seems to be little more than a younger version of himself? Couldn’t he, as a man trying to get elected, say he would pull the estimated portion of Planned Parenthood’s funding that goes to funding abortions, instead of for the entire program?

I understand why people believe that Pres. Obama’s goal is to take wealth away from the wealthy and make everyone “the same” with some of his policies, but Hitler was a fascist dictator, not a communist and yet, despite the fact that Hitler exterminated more than 8 million people, 6 million of them Jews, there were some of my own Facebook friends posting that our President will prove to be worse than Hitler over the next four years. Really?

Even if, somehow, this country does fall into a depression, which I doubt will happen, I still believe that these United States have always been and always will be in the hands of more than just one well-educated man.

President Obama didn’t win a “mandate” from the American people. He’s lucky to still be in office at all. So, instead of spewing hateful venom at the man and his party, I believe it’s time for those of us who believe in things like a balanced budget, a strong military and the once-proud American work ethic to echo Gov. Romney’s concession speech and finally agree to reach across the aisle to try to find actual solutions to our problems. And I believe we will.


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