Claim the center Minimize partisanship and resume progress

Sen. Barack Obama’s election to the presidency on Tuesday profoundly fulfilled the American dream for millions who had thought it impossible for an African-American to reach so high and so strikingly succeed.

More importantly Obama’s decisive majority election lays out an unprecedented path on which all Americans can move toward new understandings about race and reconciliation for the national good – and expand personal understandings of what national unity means.

The opportunity for achieving a united America – even as our nation becomes more diverse in ethnicity and race – was eloquently offered on election night by Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, and President Bush, whose term ends in January.

Republicans McCain and Bush, in the spirit of authentic patriotism and bipartisanship, pledged their help and cooperation to the Democratic president-elect.

McCain’s persuasive concession was an invitation to work together – to reach across and out, as he repeatedly said in the campaign:

“These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

“I urge all Americans … I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.”

Obama reciprocated.

“Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he’s fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. … In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”

We believe governing from the political center – each party divesting itself of its extreme wings and goals – best serves the nation and all citizens.

Tuesday’s election changed the political landscape, and it affirms the need for all elected to seek compromise, as McCain noted, and reject partisanship as the ultimate standard.

We believe those who insist on remaining wholly or predominantly partisan – including Mississippians serving in Washington – risk being shoved aside.

Mississippi needs players on Capitol Hill, those who engage in pursuing achievement rather than clinging to ideology.