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Column: Election Offers GOP Chance To Bounce Back

This story was written by Alex Carroll,


Yes, the election did hurt. John McCain did not win, but the American people spoke in a very clear voice. Now we must look ahead. Anything else is foolish at this point. And for Republicans, there are many bright lights on the path ahead of us.When I came to Muncie, Ind.for orientation, I met a lot of great people and I made friendships that continue to this day. But one thing I saw in that weekend continues to invade my thoughts to this day. I was walking into the Atrium when I saw another future freshman walking the opposite direction. He was wearing a T-shirt with an image of George W. Bush and beneath the picture, the shirt was emblazoned with the words "NOT MY PRESIDENT." This shirt infuriated me. I was incensed by this guy's lack of respect for Bush. I remember thinking that even if you hated his policies, the least we as Americans can do is respect his office.Well, after I saw Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida all go blue on electoral maps, I fell to the truth of who our next president would be. And I began to feel that same hate that the T-shirt from five years ago represented. I got on Facebook, and saw that a group had already been formed of people like me who were disgusted with the crushing GOP loss, who had declared that Barack Obama was not their president. It was very tempting, but I did not join. I saw how hypocritical it would be to join a group spouting the same message I had taken disgust with.Wednesday morning, I walked to class with my head held high. I sat in my first class next to a dear friend of mine, who is as much a Democrat as the day is long and makes little attempt to hide it. I was half expecting her to rub the election in my face, but I was wrong. She simply greeted me and said she was glad Mitch Daniels, for whom she split her ticket, had won his bid for re-election. I felt that same twinge of guilt, because I cannot guarantee in any way that should McCain have won, I would not have been rubbing it in. I was impressed.This is how we Republicans should take this election. Hold our heads high, and take our lumps. This country wanted change. It hasn't been since Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman that one party has held the White House for more than 12 years. We have had eight years of Bush, and America likes change. If it didn't happen this year, a Republican would have little or no chance in 2012, and it's best to go ahead and hand over the keys now.The Republican Party is reorganizing. We are rebuilding. Hopefully, Indiana Republicans like Mike Pence, Dick Lugar and even Mitch Daniels can all have a say in the new look of the party. We will look to the future, and look for how to best serve the American people.But for now, we need to pull off our buttons and stickers. I loved poking fun of people with Kerry/Edwards stickers in 2005. I felt they were living in the past. Now being on their side of the equation, though, I see their point. It's hard to give up your candidate's dream. But it's time to accept. The Republicans will be on the sidelines for the next four years, making our opinions known, but we should not be bitter, and definitely not mean.Senator Arnold Vinick of "The West Wing" perhaps put it best. "I'll be a winner or I'll be a loser, but I won't be a sore loser." Now is our chance to show that we are better than the guy in the T-shirt. And I know we are.
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