11/08/2012 03:35 pm ET Updated Jan 08, 2013

Morning in Syracuse

Across the land, at least according to the talking heads, morning in America has dawned, and before the sun actually came up on Wednesday, the country handed a cautious victory to Barack Obama.

And in the wee hours as we watched the election returns, it occurred to me that at least for a few more minutes, my world view was smaller than America. It was bounded by my neighborhood here in a close-in suburb of Syracuse, New York.

As I sipped my ever-present Starbucks, I marveled at this machine that is democracy and the way it was playing out in flashes of red and blue.

It was the density-centric coasts that, for the most part, delivered President Obama another term.

It was the industrial states where workers are trying to recover from bad practice and worse policy that were blue.

It was the cities that tipped the election, where the term "melting pot" is actually evident in the faces and the storefronts and the cultures that line every block, where everyone tries really hard to collaborate with each other, because the close proximity of daily life demands it.

The "we" states vs. the "me" states. That's what struck me. The "me" states seemed to want a vision that included them and excluded others. The "we" states are more about a government that works for all of us- one that fixes pot holes, and protects our streets, and teaches our children, and defends our shores.

In fact, my friend Majora Carter said it best: You don't have to leave your neighborhood to find a better one.

Here in Central New York, a vastly different country than downtown Manhattan and underwater Long Beach, we've done that and we have one of the most classic of success stories about how it works when "we" trumps "me."

Nancy Cantor, current chancellor of Syracuse University, decided when she took the helm eight years ago, that she would actually lift the unseen but very real curtain that separated the campus from the town and used the influence of her role to deliver an economic development point of view for all of Syracuse, not just a campus development point of view for Syracuse University.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, a Republican, believes that both the university and the city are part of a continuum and she's worked hard to make policies at the county level reflect that belief for the good of all stakeholders in the county.

And Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, a Democrat, has used the power of her office to build the bridges from her end, to make sure that the city contributes its unique tools to deliver the power of "we."

In Central New York, where we needed to come together to protect all our citizens from the vagaries of our hard weather and the vast impacts of our changing economy, we've created a model of how to build a better community rather than abandoning the one you have. I hope our new and newly reinstated leaders will take a close look at.

It's one that has no patience for "us" vs. "them," especially along partisan lines. It's all about "we" - the body politic that wants to raise our families, earn our daily bread, protect our environment, and build a legacy the future can stand on.

It's morning in Syracuse, New York, and while the toxic partisanship of the past four years has left me wary, I'm leaning forward to that hopeful future for all of us.