Next year Kenyans, too, will cast their bal­lots

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - ROBERT F. GODEC

Iwant to thank the Amer­i­can peo­ple at home and abroad who ex­er­cised their con­sti­tu­tional right to vote. Over the past year many of you, along with Amer­i­cans at home and around the world, watched speeches, ral­lies, and de­bates by the can­di­dates. We saw me­dia re­ports and fol­lowed the polls. We had a free and open ex­change of ideas on the fu­ture of our coun­try.

Now, af­ter our “na­tional di­a­logue” the Amer­i­can peo­ple are speak­ing through their votes. With this elec­tion, a new chap­ter be­gins for our gov­ern­ment. But while the elec­tion brings change, what does NOT change is our faith in our Con­sti­tu­tion, the rule of law, and our strong in­sti­tu­tions.

It’s been called “the Amer­i­can Ex­per­i­ment”. In the be­gin­ning, crit­ics pre­dicted its im­mi­nent demise. In some ways, it didn’t start well. At first, only white male prop­erty own­ers could vote. We held peo­ple in slav­ery. States were of­ten bit­ter ri­vals, and, dur­ing a bloody civil war, en­e­mies. Over time, how­ever, through the sac­ri­fice and hard work of great Amer­i­cans such as Su­san B. Anthony, Martin Luther King Jr., and many oth­ers, all Amer­i­cans came to en­joy the fun­da­men­tal rights and es­sen­tial free­doms that once were held by only a few. For 240 years, through starts and stops, tri­als and tribu­la­tions, the “Amer­i­can Ex­per­i­ment” has en­dured and pros­pered.

And, now, we cel­e­brate another suc­cess­ful elec­tion. There are some, of course, who would wish for another re­sult in one race or another. One bal­lot never set­tles all dif­fer­ences. Democ­racy is a con­stant work in progress. But as the great Amer­i­can his­to­rian Shelby Foote once said, “Amer­i­cans like to think of them­selves as un­com­pro­mis­ing. [But] our true ge­nius is for com­pro­mise. Our whole gov­ern­ment is founded on it.”

This was a dif­fi­cult, con­tentious elec­tion. But Amer­i­cans will rec­og­nize and ac­cept the de­ci­sion reached in a demo­cratic poll. We wel­come our new Pres­i­dent and look for­ward to a bright fu­ture.

As we stand here to­gether, I would like to turn for a mo­ment to another elec­tion. Next year, Kenyans, too, will cast their bal­lots. It will be your sec­ond elec­tion un­der your re­mark­able 2010 Con­sti­tu­tion. En­sur­ing it is free, fair, peace­ful, and cred­i­ble will strengthen Kenya’s democ­racy, deepen pros­per­ity, and ad­vance se­cu­rity. Kenya is a great coun­try. Kenyans are a great peo­ple. I’ve seen you prove it. I have seen the strength, tal­ent, and ge­nius of the hard­work­ing Kenyan peo­ple. I have heard your dreams.

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