Against a backdrop of 23 million people without jobs, a $16 trillion national debt, an economy showing little growth and a dubious foreign policy, Barack Obama has been re-elected president of the United States by the slimmest of margins.
It is a backdrop that would get almost any previous president summarily dismissed by the electorate.
But that razor-thin margin of victory underlines how closely our country is divided between two different ways of life.
By a thread, we have apparently become a country that sees government as the keeper of the castle. We have, sadly, become, albeit narrowly, a nation that feels entitled.
The other way, a country that treasures individual achievement and upward mobility, has been shunted off to secondary status. Any objective look at a county-by-county electoral map shows that the philosophy that has been the American way still prevails in a large majority of the country.
But in heavily populated pockets of the country, Obama's blame game of a previous administration is good enough. A skin-tight majority has, to put it bluntly, settled. They've settled for three years without a budget, a yawning national debt that grows daily, incompetent handling of the Libyan embassy disaster, and even a plodding response to Hurricane Sandy. They've settled for gas prices that have more than doubled during Obama's first four years amid errant energy policies.
And they've likely settled for 8-plus percent unemployment as the norm.
These all are sins that Republican presidents would be burned at the stake for, but thanks to a neutered national media, President Obama has been given the benefit of the doubt.
The result is gridlock. For four more years. The Senate remains majority Democratic but the House is majority Republican.
And that GOP majority is not going to give in to Obama's policies, which will not cut the national debt and won't create jobs. Those were the defining reasons to elect Republican nominee Mitt Romney. He's done job creation. He's done budget balancing. He's done bipartisan government. Obama has done none of that.
Obama says he will cross the aisle in a second term. Given a first-term highlighted by misguided idealism and arrogance, we're skeptical.
But for the sake of the country, we hope the second-term Obama will actually listen to some of the ideas that have helped America prosper for nearly two and a half centuries.