Oh, well. I was hoping for a hanging chad controversy or some other indication that the 2012 election wasn’t truly over. Some fluke by which Romney wins the popular vote and the Electoral College is turned on its head. The truth is it was over fairly early. Far earlier than anyone thought it would be. And as close as Mitt Romney got to the White House, at the end of the day, he never got close enough to the voters to oust President Barack Obama.

I do know I was at the bank yesterday talking to a millennial or young woman in her 20s who had voted for Obama and was voting for Romney. Another gal at the coffee shop said the same thing. Then I went to get my hair done and the stylist, who is gay, told me he won’t ever vote for a Republican as long as they are anti-civil union. He said he just got engaged and that he and a partner want to have a child using a surrogate or in vitro. My little sister, who lives in Virginia and admitted to me that she knew the economy would get better under Romney, voted for Obama because of women’s issues. Folks, if there is a theme here it is that the Republicans are going to have to back off on social issues if they want to stop alienating voters who would otherwise vote for them. I might have voted for Todd Akin because Claire McCaskill was so closely aligned with Obama for much of his tenure but then he made that “legitimate rape” comment and I couldn’t vote in that race at all.

We can’t ignore what needs to happen and I wish I trusted the Democrats to do it. Our country needs to stop in its tracks financially and reassess. We can’t afford the programs we’re creating and we can’t leave the financial legacy we’ve created, a 16-trillion-dollar deficit, to our kids. If there was ever a time that voters might have heard that message, I thought it would surely be the year that we all watch the economy limping along.  People are seriously hurting and yet, the enormity and importance of our financial future seemed to elude them.

We can do better and we will. Voters ultimately came down on the side of healthcare reform and social issues. But I also think they were kind of ticked off at Congressional Republicans who they blamed for much of the partisan bickering. It’s time for moderate Republicans to raise their hands and let their presence be known so that a moderate like the Mitt Romney who ran Massachusetts can get nominated. That Romney would have had a lot of crossover appeal to the socially liberal voters. I don’t blame Romney for changing his mind or for having positions that evolved over time. And I do believe the Romney that ran this race is still the same person but the process has made it too difficult for a reasonable Republican to punch through. And that he wasn’t as concerned about social issues because he was so committed to reversing our economy.

I watched the returns with an interesting group last night. Some wore blue and voted blue; others were red and voted accordingly.

I voted for Romney but I wore maroon. I think it’s where most Americans are and it is going to be in the middle that true progress comes. Now I just hope the Democrats are willing to work with the Republicans and that they don’t view last night’s victory as a reason to keep spending.  And I hope the Republican realize change is afoot and that social issues do not belong on the party’s platform. As the stylist said yesterday, no one is going to vote for a party that hates them.