Any reality star knows that something which happened a day or two ago is just yesterday's news. So, while we know who our president is for the next four years, our focus has shifted. Just as D.C. has moved on to the coming fiscal cliff, it's time for us to focus on what's ahead for all of us.
Ladies, take a bow and a seat... at the table of power. I was a little concerned that we'd end up with more females on our next reunion special than in the Senate. Instead, we'll have four more women in power. Get this: 20 percent of the senate will be female in January (16 Democrats and 4 Republicans) and white males will likely no longer make up a majority of the Democratic Caucus in the House. It's one thing to petition your government on women's rights issues, it's another to write those laws! I'm guessing we won't have a repeat of the congressional contraceptive hearing that made Sandra Fluke famous because she was shut out of a conversation about females by a male-only panel.
That power doesn't stop growing here, though. One reason President Obama's coalition held is that history does matter. Now that we've shown African American children that they can do anything, 2016 may be the time we teach our daughters the same lesson. The female vote is formidable and it will be very tough to turn away from Hillary Clinton's run at the White House when a groundswell of females and males in both parties unite to finally crash through the glass ceiling which she famously put 18 million cracks in, four years ago.
I got 99 problems but a Mitch (McConnell) ain't one. Governor Romney made a very gracious concession speech and, surprisingly, there weren't major boos when he congratulated Barack Obama. I am hopeful that it's a small sign of a far right that lost, but didn't lose the lesson. America didn't reward their bad behavior -- grabbing for more power over progress and desperately trying to make Barack Obama a "one term president," (thanks Sen. McConnell!) even if we throw the economy and the country under the bus, in the process. That's an old worldview that simply doesn't work anymore.
When our president spoke about us not being red states or blue states but the United States of America, we all sensed that he meant it. He believes it with all of his being. That talk launched him to stardom as the keynote speaker at the 2004 DNC and you can tell he still believes it today. But President Obama needs to fully live it. One lesson he must have learned this time around is that while a GOP-led House may obstruct, he'll get the blame. So, after a two billion dollar election, he still has to lead, and work with, the other side of the aisle.
Democrats will win every future base election, unless the GOP secedes from its Tea Party union. Bush's brain Karl Rove effectively put his boss in the White House with base elections in 2000 and 2004. Guess what? That base has changed. Percentages of African Americans and Latinos are up. Minorities are moving to Virginia and other swing states in greater numbers. Women are more powerful at the ballot than ever. Want a sign of how different it is? President Obama's team admitted in 2008 that it used some of Bush's "get out the vote" methods for its base from the prior election... to beat the GOP. So, if America's base is growing more diverse, the GOP won't have anywhere to go. It's like a Housewife who's alienated her cast mates in the season premiere. You've got a lot of episodes to go and it will not be pretty when the barking really begins.
Why isn't the party of personal responsibility... taking any? As an American, I hope Republicans look at their loss and realize they can't win without minorities. As a non-Republican, I'm not convinced that they will. It's amazing to me that the reaction from the right (which has told minorities to pick themselves up by their bootstraps for years) has included so much blame: the media, Chris Christie and Mother Nature. Thankfully, some of the party is saying real effort, not outreach for show has to be made to gay Americans and minorities. Newt Gingrich, for one, actually made the most sense when he said: "there's a difference between outreach and inclusion. Outreach is when five white guys have a meeting and call you. Inclusion is when you're in the meeting." You can't win in "the new normal." (Call me, Ryan Murphy!)
By the way, for a party so hopped up on talk of sound business decisions, do you think Sheldon Adelson will give another $100 million in 2016 after he came up empty in races across the country. Not one win! You can bet Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do to after his promises and projections proved dead wrong. But that's another story for another day.
Political pandering to females couldn't sway Sandy or Mother Nature... and other election lessons. So, what have we learned?
We've learned that -- white men in suits may still rule most boardrooms, but they don't rule our ballot boxes.
We've learned that -- marriage equality is spreading, not shrinking. There is no such thing as a modern American family. There are a range of them. Deal with it.
We've learned that -- Americans want more Federal government in times of crisis.
We've learned that -- Americans understand more Federal Government may be needed for our safety, health, education and well-being -- but we don't want it to involve our bedrooms.
We've learned that -- we want a government that works for everyone -- not a privileged few. That means building from the middle class out and leading on the world's stage by example, not bullying.
We've learned that -- common sense and "the 47 percent" really can reign over pollsters, pundits and spin doctors.
We've learned that -- binders are the new business cards.
By the way, I know this sounds a bit lofty, so after all the intensity and stress of the election -- we can take some time for comic relief... like getting our fix for crazy drama on a certain Bravo show you may have heard of that features lots of strong women.
America voted and waited... Be proud of both. The lines at polling places were a mess but, despite a few suppression problems, most people got in and waited their turn. I get emotional thinking of the stories of how people who work two or more jobs sacrificed hours of income they desperately need to make sure their voices would be heard -- if not for our generation, than for future generations. I was astounded when a friend of mine who immigrated from Haiti told me he waited in line for six hours to vote! He was hungry, needed to go to the restroom and his legs were aching -- but he kept remembering the words of the president, "Yes we can"... so he did. It does make me wonder what part of us, any of us, in our innermost thoughts, thinks that with all of our society's technical and electronic resources, that it is acceptable to allow such long waits for vote?
You say you want a revolution... We all got to change the world. After the president won, Donald Trump said we need a revolution. It's funny, I thought, because we are in the middle of a revolution! America stood up against years of obstruction, potential setbacks for women's rights, the buying and lying to win elections. We won't stand for voter suppression. Of course, there's still work to do. There's a long agenda ahead. The new Latino dominance proves that immigration reform will be a major fight ahead (adapt or die, politicians!), tax reform, placing moderates on the Supreme Court, marriage equality, the environment are just a few on the list.
You may not have voted for him, but you can take pride in him. I don't know about you, but one of my proudest moments as an American was watching our president, standing in front of thousands of supporters in Chicago, giving an emotional and inspirational acceptance speech that reached out to all of America. The fact that a young boy raised by a single mother could go from community organizer to commander-in-chief for two terms and then, despite the hatred thrown his way, embrace all Americans and extend another invitation of unity to go from "Yes, we can" to "Yes, we did and we will," is simply amazing and will go down in history as a moment where hope was realized and part of the mission really was accomplished.
I was also proud of President Obama's close partnership with Bill Clinton. The former president's work with his Global Initiative speaks volumes about who he is and that office or no office, public service is his calling. I was proud of how they've fully put their differences aside and you can bet President Obama will repay the favor in 2012.
Democrats need to learn some lessons, too. There was plenty of mud slung on both sides, so of course, we all need to recognize that we're in this together. Presidential politics have always been brutal (John Quincy Adams accused Andrew Jackson's wife of adultery and Thomas Jefferson paid a journalist to write that John Adams was a hermaphrodite) and this year's campaign was bitter. So Democrats need to see the part we've played, and now it's also our responsibility to reach out to those who disagree with us. We need to empower them to see what we see after this election, not make them wrong. It's about reaching out and not shutting down. As shocking as it may be for a Real Housewife to say this, we should replace shouting with calm discussion (I promise Andy Cohen, this doesn't hold true for our reunion show!)
Remember, while one half of America is ecstatic (or at least relieved), the other half is... not so much. So keep in mind how one voice's cry of "yes we can" resonated. Let's commit to hearing other voices and together with the leadership of a president who wants to lead us forward -- including those of us who don't share his vision. Let's let them simply see how we live and say to themselves, I wanna be just like them.
The Real Housewives of Miami airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo & a new episode premieres this Sunday, November 11th at 10pm ET. Follow Lea Black on Twitter at @LeaBlackMiami.
Follow Lea Black on Twitter: www.twitter.com/leablackmiami