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New president faces challenge, opportunity

By By SONNY CALLAHAN
U.S. Representative
In the end, it was as it was meant to be.
Late last Wednesday, after more than a month of legal maneuvers and verbal sparring, the two men who aspired to the presidency of the United States addressed a badly divided nation.  
While one carried the burden of concession, the other carried the added weight of a bruised nation on his shoulders.  
In the end, however, both Vice President Al Gore and President-elect George W. Bush, set the tone for what was a reaffirmation of this 224-year-old experiment known as America.
Despite the bitter and often raw emotions that surfaced during the historic turn of events following the November 7th general election, both the vice president and the governor of Texas showed what truly makes America unique to the rest of the world.
There was never a constitutional crisis, despite the best efforts by some in the national news media to promote this notion.
Nor was there ever a threat to a smooth and orderly transition that we have come to know and expect here in the United States. Not even for a single moment did armed soldiers consider storming the capital or taking over the news media.  
After all, this is America and despite the strange, truly unprecedented turn of events that took place during the past 36 days, we have proven yet again that our system works.
For his part, the vice president could not have been more gracious.
As though the same person had drafted both speeches (which, despite the congeniality, most certainly did not occur), the president-elect responded in kind.  
Governor Bush is only the 43rd person to become president. His presidency will be unique in many ways, not the least of which he is only the second person in American history to follow his father to the highest office in the land.
In addition, for the first time since 1952, Republicans now claim a majority, albeit a narrow one, in the House, the Senate and the White House.   To some, that might signal an opportunity to move the country to the far right.
But the president-elect didn't waste any time trying to assure the American people that he will govern in a bipartisan fashion, just as he has done during the past six years as governor of Texas.
And while that will likely be a source of frustration to some, in reality it is where most people find themselves in the middle at least politically speaking.
You see, I have always said that both Republicans and Democrats want what is best for America.  
The difference lies in the direction and philosophy the two parties take in trying to get there.
In many ways, the election ended without all the doomsday scenarios some had predicted.
While for selfish reasons I'm glad this matter was resolved before it came to Congress, I sincerely believe an orderly transition would have occurred regardless.  Thankfully, however, for the nation, our time to heal can begin now.
There will naturally be many hurdles to overcome for the new president and his new administration.  New challenges always bring new opportunities, if you only approach it in a positive way.
For now, however, Americans from all walks of life can take heart in knowing that even with the obvious flaws in the election-counting process, a new beginning is about to get underway.
The prayers of an entire nation should be with the president-elect and his team.
Until next week, take care and God Bless.