Less than a minute after midnight of election day, Dick Manion's disappointment at the outcome of the presidential election was temporarily forgotten as Tatum Addison Nungesser entered the world.
Manion is a former Columbia County Republican Party chairman and, more recently, a former Grovetown city councilman. He's also a military retiree and John McCain supporter.
But for at least a little while this week, his most important title was great-granddad. Little Tatum is his sixth.
It was a rare bright spot for Republicans, who didn't have many reasons to be cheerful after Tuesday's elections.
Their man, a compromise candidate, never excited conservatives. Even the novelty of his female vice-presidential pick wore off. McCain's biggest asset was that he was not Barack Obama. In fact, here's what I wrote June 18, echoing Rush Limbaugh:
"The November election will be a referendum on Obama: Voters will cast ballots for him or against him; McCain merely will be the recipient of most of the against' votes."
Unfortunately for McCain, that amounted to less than half of the popular vote, with Obama getting the majority at 52 percent.
All the Obama supporters' giddy jubilation aside, editorial cartoonist Eric Allie puts it into proper perspective. He caricatures two newspaper pages side by side, one from 2004, the other from 2008.
In the first, it says "Bush Wins 51 percent, Country Divided." The second says "Obama Wins 52 percent, Country United."
In any event, no matter who won this thankless job, he will have an awfully tough road ahead thanks to the war and the economy. In fact, Obama's recent speeches often focused on lowering expectations for his starry-eyed supporters.
It's pretty clear that he's going to need not just the help and indulgence of his ardent fans as he undergoes on-the-job training, but the support of all his fellow countrymen (and no, I don't mean those cheering Kenyans - I mean us).
Obama won. He'll be our next president. Less than a third of Columbia County voters wanted him, but 100 percent of us should support him the same way many of us insisted everyone support President Bush in a time of war. It works both ways - and we should set the example.
That's the least we can do if we expect little Tatum and her peers to inherit a better world.
And by the way: It is now permissible to track down any commentator who, in the past year, declared "racist" America "is not ready for a black president," and slap him or her silly. Find 'em, and I'll go first.
Wait! There's more!
As welcome as the end of the campaigns might be, it still isn't over yet.
We'll be going back to the polls Dec. 2 to vote in runoffs for the U.S. Senate and the court of appeals. That'll cost Columbia County taxpayers about $50,000 for probably 10 percent of voters.
Meanwhile, another shot at the polls means some voters get another chance to show their comedic skills with write-in votes. I have 102 pages of write-in comments from Tuesday's election - some serious, some funny, some just plain stupid, and every one of them meaningless.
Still, with so many candidates locally running unopposed, it's much more fun to vote as some in Columbia County did for Chuck Norris or Steven Colbert or "Joe the Plummer." It also provides opportunities for brief, sharp political bites, such as writing in "Someone with a law degree" for Probate Judge Pat Hardaway, or "Lamp Post" for Ben Harbin (ouch).
Just three more weeks 'til the comedians can come back out.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.