Oliver North

 WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American people spoke loud and clear on Tuesday, and the so-called mainstream media still haven't heard them. With nearly 60 million, President Bush received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history. It is a clear mandate for a popular president to continue defending this country from terrorist enemies; strengthen our intelligence operations; continue the progress in Iraq and Afghanistan; reduce the tax burden on families and small businesses; reform Social Security; and establish public policies that reflect the moral virtues that value human life and the sanctity of marriage.

 Although nearly 60 percent of registered voters cast their ballots on Tuesday, the Kerry team hoped for a higher turnout. With help from its Hollywood friends, it worked hard to energize young voters and college students, whom it hoped would be the "800-pound gorilla" voting bloc of this election. The Kerry team repeated its lie day in and day out that under a second Bush term, a military draft was imminent and the only way for students to legally dodge the draft was to vote for John Kerry. That would do it, Kerry thought. The way to win this election was to turn John Kennedy's admonition on its head and appeal to the weak and cowardly, who ask only what their country can do for them.

 But the students didn't turn out. Instead, millions of Americans braved rain, snow and blazing sun to vote for their commander in chief, wanting their voice to counter Kerry's appeal to craven pessimists. In some precincts, voters waited for hours. Pundits who provided us with Election Day analysis believed these long lines, coupled with fatally flawed exit polls, would redound to the benefit of John Kerry -- the antiwar candidate who would sound the call for retreat.

 But the Americans who waited in line to cast their votes are the quiet patriots who live in small towns and rural communities in the so-called "Red States." For them, standing in line is not the burden the elite media, who prize instant gratification, make it out to be. After all, these are the people who stand in line at Wal-Marts for hunting and fishing licenses. They stand in line on Sundays at church to shake hands with the minister or receive communion. And these are the same people who formed long lines in mid-September 2001 to give blood, donate time and energy, sift through rubble, put out fires, distribute Bibles and blankets, and pour coffee.

 The people who formed those long lines at the polling places on Tuesday are the friends, family and neighbors of those young people who formed lines in 2001 out the doors of the Army and Marine Corps recruiting offices.

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.