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Election Day 2008 is, at last, history - but what history was made Tuesday! In the surest sign our nation remains true to its democratic ideals, Americans turned out in record numbers to choose their 44th president.
Local supporters of Barack Obama and John McCain have every reason to be proud of their candidates and the national dialogue they led on the crucial issues we face: wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, threats to our national security, a struggling economy, health care and even race.
Any election brings as many defeats as victories but all of us should feel proud that our votes make a difference and that national power, in just more than 70 days, will transfer peacefully. Not everyone living on our planet can make that boast.
Tuesday's election proves that democracy still works. Our votes count equally, regardless of our politics, skin color, religion or wealth.
Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita does a good job in thanking poll workers and others in a guest column elsewhere on this page. But we'd like to extend our thanks to candidates themselves, those victorious and those who lost. Voters deserve choices and all but one local race in the county had two candidates running.
We extend our thanks to candidates who sought office, including Dr. William Marcrum, who ran for the Indiana House of Representatives, and Dennie Oxley and his run for lieutenant governor with Jill Long Thompson. Both men, on opposite sides of the political divide, came up short Tuesday but they should be proud of their campaigns.
Now that the election signs have come down, our elected leaders face tough decisions and they will need our input, cooperation and even sacrifices to win the wars on terror and strengthen our economy.
No, our civic responsibility doesn't end on Election Day. We must stand ready to support our elected officials when we agree with them and to challenge them when they say or do things we don't like.
We all know the election system isn't anywhere near perfect. Yes, campaigns cost too much money and large donors often have more input than the rest of us, but come Election Day, it's votes, not dollars that win races.
Democracy is efficient and at times ruthless with those who seek public office, rewarding those who serve well but removing others who fail to perform or are unable to convey their message.
The election of a black man as president, and the strong election-year performances of Sen. Hillary Clinton and Gov. Sarah Palin, show how far our nation has come in moving beyond the prejudice and discrimination of its past.
This newspaper began publishing before many women in our nation had the right to vote and it wasn't until 1920 that women in all states could vote for their president. The fight to ensure blacks the right to freely cast their ballots took decades longer.
Last Tuesday renewed our trust in democracy and the best it brings out in the greatest nation the world has known.
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