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A nation deeply divided

Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Congratulations to President Barack Hussein Obama on his less than triumphant victory in his reelection.

Obama secured a second term but without a national mandate, given how close he came to losing the popular vote. And he knows this very well. In 2008, he won the presidency by 10 million votes — or the combined population of New York City and the counties of Nassau and Westchester. In 2012, Obama won by 2.8 million votes — or the total population of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Obama won 25 states to 24 states for Governor Mitt Romney, with Florida still undecided with 49.9 percent for Obama to 49.3 for Romney.

So where do we, as Americans, go from here?

It is clear that Obama is at a crossroads in our nation’s history. It’s like 1860 all over again, with a powder keg brewing around the corner awaiting a spark as the nation remains further divided along strong political and economic ideological lines.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) went on television Wednesday afternoon to extend an olive branch to Obama. Said Boehner, “Mr. President, this is your moment. We’re ready to be led not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans. We want you to lead not as a liberal or a conservative, but as the president of the United States of America. We want you to succeed. Let’s challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us.”

Strong words from the speaker, but will the Democratic opposition listen? Will Obama also extend an olive branch to the House GOP to meet them halfway with the congressional Democrat leadership in tow, or will he follow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in further straining the nation’s divide for political gamesmanship in order to break the House GOP?

Said Obama in his re-election speech, “Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.”

A test is on the horizon as the debt ceiling will have been reached by the end of the year as Congress must work with the president to draft a framework to avoid defaulting on the debt payment. The $1 trillion over ten years  in sequestration cuts are another issue Washington is facing come January 2013.

There’s plenty of uncertainty looming ahead, and we cannot afford another year or four of political hostility and no federal budget. This nation needs leadership from on top, and that is what Boehner requested from the White House.  Therefore, the chips are with Obama. He owns this economy now. He can no longer blame Bush or the GOP anymore without looking extremely weak and petulant. How Obama will play his poker hand, given his complete and utter incompetence in his first term, is anybody’s guess.

We can only pray some amicable accommodation is reached to avert falling over the financial cliff, having a federal budget passed, and reformation of the IRS tax code, at least until the 2014 midterm election.

By Lee Anthony Nieves, guest contributor

Lee Anthony Nieves is a conservative libertarian political commentator and frequent Being Latino contributor. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. “How Obama will play his poker hand, given his complete and utter incompetence in his first term, is anybody’s guess”… This guy Lee never stops with his bull sh*t. You’re an ideologue of the worst kind.

    “He can no longer blame Bush or the GOP anymore without looking extremely weak and petulant”… Right, because the GOP hasn’t worked to obstruct almost every single one of Obama’s goals, no matter how much the President tried to negotiate with Republicans.

    History and facts mean nothing to right wingers such as yourself.

  2. The GOP left a very dirty house …. and wants it cleaned up quickly ….. Well Bush should have cleaned up behind himself !
    You clearly have no clue on what Americans needs or want … And niether did Romney, thats why he lost. Florida is no longer ruled by the older latin point of view and GOP can’t take the Latin vote for granted anymore …. Thats where The Romney camp got it wrong, the GOP needs fresh ideas #FORWARD

  3. there wasn’t this much irrational animosity from the rightwing nutcases for the president and his policies since FDR

  4. Same can be said about Dubya’s time in office.

  5. Wonderful article, but there’s something I have to get off my chest. A couple of days ago I headed down to Staten Island, one of the worst hit areas in New York City by Hurricane Sandy. I saw unimaginable destruction that I will never forget for as long as I live. But then I saw something that brought tears to my eyes: there was a field that was being used by the Red Cross as a staging area for volunteers and different agencies, and a large group of people walked up carrying food, water, and clothing for people who lost everything. That included small children carrying bundles of clothes for people who they never even met. I even saw giant boxes of donations from places as far away as South Carolina. Afterwards I headed over to a heavily damaged restaurant a mile away where the community had set up an ad hoc shelter packed with everything you would ever need. I guess the point I wanted to make is that at the end of the day, even though we may argue over politics, even though we may argue over differences of opinion, we still come together to help each other out, not just in a time of need, but hopefully also anytime we could use some help. The people down there don’t ask “Hey, before I give you this box of canned food, who did you vote for?” They don’t differentiate between liberal and conservative. The election is over, but regardless, I’m optimistic about the American people as a whole. Even if the other guy had won, I still love this country and it’s wonderful people. I love this great land and all the opportunities it has granted me. Sure, I sometimes offer my disagreement over things like foreign policy, or the economy, but that’s what democracy is about. Again, thanks for the article. Keep it up, dude.

  6. well said Bryan Anlas.

  7. Bryan: Indeed, as Americans we come together. However, remember this, and don’t forget it. You have utility crews from teh south who were turned away by unionized utility thugs. They wre their to help regardless. So yes, as Americans, we come together, but then you have punks who don’t care about that. They bleed union firsts. That’s why there’s still outages up there. People are suffering because of this political crappy behavior. And then there’s FEMA and the political pats on the back, but that’s another story in and of itself.

  8. The sad and odd thing about this election is that if you look at the map of the nation the blue areas are little enclaves here and there, mainly in the urban centers. But the rest of the nation is red. Also, the night Obama won, all our foes around the world breathed a sigh of relief. They did not want a Romney/Ryan victory – they wanted Obama. That should speak volumes.

  9. What Mr. President needs to do is take a page from Bill Clinton’s book. He needs to put his ideology and agenda aside and mover to the “center” of the ailse and get this budget fixed, get immigration fixed, get the tax code fixed, get welfare reform fixed, and get health care fixed. As a Republican and enternal optimist I am hoping he can get this done. If not, not only will his Presidency be a failure but we as a country will become a failure.

  10. That is why we need to have a movement to remove Winner-Takes-All and replace it with one in which the winner of a congressional district wins that district’s electoral votes (438), and the winner of the state wins the senatorial portion of he electoral vote (100).

  11. The current Winner-Takes-All truly disenfranchises voters, be they GOPers and Democrats. My concept makes it more democratic per congressional district since the electoral college is based both on congressional district and the senate.

  12. All I want is for the people who voted for the other guy (in any election) not to have the opportunity to say “I told you so” at the end of the term. Let’s get things done.

  13. Irrational animosity OR truth, how you see it depends on your beliefs of where our country stands currently. @Bryan that was indeed very well put and I agree with you 100%. If it’s one thing Americans can do is to set aside differences and discord for the common good and to lend a helping hand to those in need. I’ve always been so very proud of these united states for that. Thanks to these acts and the numerous community groups and non profit agencies throughout, people have received the necessities they’ve lacked from FEMA. God bless us all and God bless the USA!

  14. FEMA has been on the funding chopping block since Sequestration demands cuts of $100B per anum for ten years. That’s why they were caught off guard by Sandy, and aren’t able to assist the victims. Yet, it takes digging to find this information, but when you have the political elites in NY and NJ patting one another on the back, it’s all smoke and mirror. They can’t tell folks there are no blankets, no money, nothing. So, let this be a lesson to all Americans. We are facing a financial cliff. Cuts are bound to happen. This is no joke. You must fend for yourself or suffer the fate for being unprepared for any disaster.

  15. That said, it’ll be interesting what hand Obama plays now. Reid is tightening up the senate rules to prevent the GOP from filibustering. So, let’s see how Mitch McConnell plays the GOP hand in the senate and Boehner in the House. We’ll probably know by Christmas as the debt ceiling talks mature, and then you’ll have the Sequestration cuts in early January.

  16. @Lee, I want to thank you for re-sparking in me my true political passions. I am currently going to put my feet to the ground locally and on a state level to do the work that needs to be done. I want to see the country succeed and I think we need more respectful and thoughtful discussion to get there!

  17. Angela: You’re welcome. For three plus years I have done my best on Being Latino to bring about that spark you referred too, and am greatly humbled for bringing you there. It’s on you now to continue moving forward. I have a passion for education and deep critical thinking and analysis of politics of which there is a dearth within the Latino community and on this site given the illogical arguments posted on here. That said, thank you for your support. God bless!

  18. It’s fascinating to see how many Hispanics voted for Barrack Obama, for issues they believe this President will address and therefore resolve, yet it is also very overwhelming the wonder of a culture that states and addresses constantly that they are a race of religious and social values and that they are an upcoming minority that’s well informed.
    I call that hypocritical and very convenient! If and so they, we, the Latinos say they are from a very Judeo-Christian /Catholic upbringing, raised with moral values, we as a cultural minority are the laugh stock of the whole western hemisphere! Truly looking at it those Latinos/ Hispanics that reelected Obama are not well informed. He approves and promoted same sex marriages and redefining the Holy constitution of marriage even when on his 1st bid for President he promoted himself a president with moral values which in the end goes and contradicts the values of real traditional Hispanics and their heritage. But if you are informed then it means you diluted those values for something else. So which one is it going to be?
    As a Christian, Abortion is an abomination in the eyes of God, yet with many rants of “si podemos” y “Dios esta con nosotros“millions of Latinos came upon voting booths and elected a Man who in order to win an election has no respect for the sanctity of a fetus’ life and makes women think its ok to have an abortion. Wow we Latinos are really showing are character, a character that changes when convenient to them when other issues seem to be more important than what G-d wants!
    And then to the part of women rights, many Latinas have come on here declaring to the top of their lungs how pro they are for woman’s rights and that the Hispanic woman should be a model for all those of the Latino Race. And I commend you on that and I too am proud for all the smart, Educated, and hard working woman representing our culture. Yet you have those demanding that others see it their way when it comes to who gets to choose what a woman does with her body. Birth control was one issue, well use it if you so deem so! that is not a real issue, but it becomes one when some of the female in the Hispanic culture wants the rest of the tax payer to pay for it. Yet I tell you this many Latina women did not go to vote for that they went because they were told by other misguided Latinas that the American Tax payer didn’t want them to have contraceptives. But hey all these ladies are well informed right? It went the same when they told Hispanic women that the opposition, conservatives, and whoever else was vilified that they wanted to do away with the rights on what a woman can do with her body. It is the right of a Hispanic woman to do so. But if you are Catholic or Cristian, The argument that pro-abortionists use concerning the woman’s body being her own and that she is able to do with it as she pleases is in direct contradiction to I Corinthians 6:19 where our bodies are described as the “temple of the Lord”, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit {who is} in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”We are not our own, and whatever we do should glorify God in our bodies. The cries that are heard in the streets concerning the “rights” of a woman to do with her body as she pleases is pure rebellion against the God in Heaven. In James 3:9 we are told, “Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God.” There is no question that abortion is one of the greatest curses on men. But that being said, it again begs the question, did many Hispanic women vote for Obama because they were misinformed? Or was it because those values which they so proclaim and joust around really don’t matter because they do not have those religious faith based values which their mothers and grandmother had? In the end its really not hard to see why the democratic party would choose in these past 8 to 10 years the Hispanics as their pawns when in even earlier years they did not even care for the Latino population. But even more disturbing and alarming that because of those who voted for a president who obviously contradicts Hispanics faith based values all Latinos including the ones that did not vote, are a joke when it comes to the eyes of the country, the world and even worse yet the eyes of the Lord. Wow yeah go Latinos we don’t care about our family values as much as we care about getting bones when it comes to immigration!

  19. Sorry to get slightly off topic but this is going to get interesting folks:

  20. I really wonder how much time people have on their hands to constantly be leaving comments the length of book

  21. Albert: Good idea……….a book! lol

  22. Damn Albert didnt think you even knew what a book was

  23. 71% of the Latino vote is a mandate guys, sorry! And are you going to make good on those pre-election bets, or was that just as good as your pre-election predictions? Do you want to etch-a-sketch that like your candidate?

  24. 71% of the Latino vote is a mandate guys, sorry! And are you going to make good on those pre-election bets, or was that just as good as your pre-election predictions? Do you want to etch-a-sketch that like your candidate?

  25. pure ignorance is what is in that 71% just pure ignorance and freeloaders!!!

  26. pure ignorance is what is in that 71% just pure ignorance and freeloaders!!!

  27. Bush claimed he had a mandate for his war in 04 with 286 electoral college votes (you guys did a great job with that BTW). So I guess Obama with 332 votes isn’t enough. Or is it that math thing you guys don’t understand?

  28. Bush claimed he had a mandate for his war in 04 with 286 electoral college votes (you guys did a great job with that BTW). So I guess Obama with 332 votes isn’t enough. Or is it that math thing you guys don’t understand?

  29. @ Jose, no need to bring logic to lee and Walter, for weeks they claim that there was going to be a big Romney win and now they are moving to this. You would think they would stay low for a while after reality just hit them.

  30. @ Jose, no need to bring logic to lee and Walter, for weeks they claim that there was going to be a big Romney win and now they are moving to this. You would think they would stay low for a while after reality just hit them.

  31. Jose Cruz: 1) We never had a confirmed bet. 2) Read my column again. I wrote “national mandate”, not Latino mandate. 3) Bush got a congressional resolutions passed to attack al-Qaeda in 2001 and Iraq in 2002 along with a UN security council resolution in 2003; and despite the war in its early stages he won re-election in 2004. (Do you comprehend chronological order?) 4) Lastly, Obama lost huge amounts of votes compared to 2008. Did you read my column or are you just annoyed that I wrote such a cogent piece? Are you able to digest the information I penned? Yes, I’m aware of the electoral college numbers, but I’m also aware of the 2.8M popular vote difference. It was a squeaker by popular vote compared to the 10M votes difference in 2008 between Obama and McCain.

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