The election is over, and the results aren't pretty for Republicans. Barack Obama won the presidency by a fairly comfortable margin, Democrats expanded their majority in the House, and the GOP is hanging onto the filibuster by a hair in the Senate. Now that the rallies have died down, the attack ads have been pulled off the air, and Americans are facing a new political reality, it may be instructive for those who supported the McCain-Palin ticket to revisit a slogan with which they're quite familiar: "Country First."
Throughout the general election season, this catchphrase adorned thousands of McCain rally signs, stump speech podiums, and election banners. It summed up, in two simple words, the essence of McCain's candidacy—the Republican ticket would put the nation's interests above all else, including partisan consideration and personal ambitions. Many of the 57 million citizens who pulled the lever for McCain have at some point waved a placard featuring this motto, and countless more have chanted it at campaign stops. Now that the votes have been cast and the people have spoken, what does "country first" mean for those who are disappointed with the results of November 4th? The Republican post-election manifestation of this noble creed should take several forms.
First, it should mean respecting the President of the United States, and the office he holds. The Left has attacked, defamed, belittled, and mocked the current president for the better part of eight years. They often carp about America's standing in the world without suspecting for an instant that their ceaseless efforts to tear down their own country's leader may well have contributed to the negative perception abroad. The Right should prove itself to be better than that by affording the new president the respect he deserves. Conservatives should do so not merely to foster a smug sense of superiority, but because it's the right thing to do. We face a dangerous and hostile world, rife with regimes and organizations that would like nothing better than to see the United States unravel. A modicum of national unity and solidarity could go a long way to put the country in the best position to confront these challenges.