In the run up to the American presidential election we asked a panel of voters to share their views and predictions. Here they give their reaction to the final result.
New York, New York
San Diego, California
I did not go to the polls on 2 November. I mailed in an absentee ballot last week because my husband is stationed in California.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Rhonda Buie
Lives: San Diego, California
In 10 words or less:
"Wife, student, amateur artist, imperfect and independent observer"
We were very excited and nervous, to say the least.
I was travelling most of the day and so only heard about Kerry's defeat around 2pm. I was shocked and spent most of the rest of the day talking about it with my husband.
As we went along our errands and checked on our friends, we realised many were feeling very angry and defeated.
We all felt as if the next four years would have more of the same, with perhaps greater disappointments.
This election has left me with a sense of strain and unease.
I cannot see that those who voted for Kerry will be calm about this any time soon. There was so much we had all been hoping for to change.
Bush has a lot to prove to the half of the country that he has left behind in the last four years but I doubt he will regain their trust.
In fact, I hear of an impending split within his own party because of his actions. His government's balance of power is tipping.
My husband and I are making plans that extend beyond his years in the military.
Our bitterness toward our government's actions and the leaders its people choose makes us wonder if we shouldn't consider finding another country to call home.
Send us your comments on Rhonda's views using the form below.
Rhonda, while I understand your frustration about this year's election, we need Americans like yourself who voted against the incumbency to remain active in the political process. Although the Democrats' message did not seem to appeal to a majority of the electorate, time will tell whether the Americans will feel frustrated by the next four years of the presidency and Congress. But I can think of worse reasons to leave one's country.
Greg, Fairfax, Virginia, USA
If you are unable to accept the outcome that Bush won by a majority vote and fairly won the electoral vote, well then maybe you should find a new country to call home. You should also realise that the world does not revolve around the East and West coasts, there is a whole country in between whose values differ to yours.
Jeff K, Naperville, IL, USA
Rhonda: Don't leave. I made it through eight years of Clinton. You can make it through eight years of Bush.
Gwendolyn, Oklahoma City, USA
Rhonda summarises my feeling on this election verbatim. I also am considering finding another country, as are many of my friends.
Deborah S, Brooklyn, NY, USA
After the results came in, my friends and I (mainly Kerry supporters) were left feeling extremely disappointed, angry, and somewhat helpless. All the pre-election excitement, the hope that we had was gone. All that build-up for nothing. And nothing will change. President Bush will conduct his next four years in office like his past four, very badly. I am amazed and saddened to see how many Americans still support George W Bush.
Lisa Koerner, Elkins, WV, USA
I am hoping that she is correct about a split in the Republican party. I have mostly Republican views but cannot accept this Christian element that the current republicans have adopted. There have to be some Republicans out there like myself that still desire smaller government. That, I believe would be the split. However, the only position I know of the Democrats having is that they are antagonists to the Republicans.
Steve, Redondo Beach, CA, USA
It is interesting to see so many people in the US talk openly about wanting to leave the country after Bush's win. The same thought was running through my head yesterday afternoon. I was trying to think back through history about the last time that Americans wanted to leave the country in droves. Aside from the Vietnam War, the era that most prominently came to mind was the '20s, when many creative people decided to live as expatriates in Europe. That was the last time the Republicans controlled the Presidency, the House and the Senate for a significant period of time. And you know what? The entire country fell apart after about ten years of their unchecked regime.
Steve Winters, Bloomington, IN, USA
Rhonda, did you really think Kerry would have been any better than Bush? I say better the devil you know than the one who promises everything based on the direction the wind blows.
Your sentiments about leaving are well understood. This election has made me realise something that I honestly did not know about my countrymen: there are more of "them", then there are of "us". There are more who see disenfranchisement of other citizens based on their sexual orientation as right and proper than those of us who see it as a violation of the Constitution and of civil liberties. More who see pre-emptive destruction of any foreign power as a "right" the US has in pursuit of its security, no matter how poorly supported the threat, than those of us who demand solid knowledge before we pull a trigger.
Bob James, McFarland, WI, US
It's a free country, to live in or to leave. I recall a few other actors/artists/self-proclaimed sages threatening the same exodus during the 2000 campaign. None of those individuals ever left the country though and I suspect you won't either.
Mike, LV, USA
Rhonda said she was thinking of finding another country to call home. My husband and I have been discussing the same thing. At first, we thought it was radical, but I've heard a dozen others in the past days express the same sentiment. We felt this way last year, but our hopes rose with the campaign. We feel a great sadness - we don't want to go, we want things to change. As a child I remember feeling such pride as an American - I never doubted our spirit, and knew if ever called upon I would defend our country with my life. But it seems the country is swinging in an alarmingly right-wing direction.
Yvonne Horne, Tallahassee, Florida USA
We should not be looking to our leaders for what they will or will not do for us. It's time for these people to get a job and get involved in making the social changes that they want instead of crying about who won the election and what they fear he is going to do or not do. If Rhonda doesn't like the outcome of this election, then she may indeed want to consider moving to a country where the outcome of their election is guaranteed. I just hope she can live with that outcome.
James Gillen, Tampa, Florida, US
This is why there won't be a reconciliation. Those on the left, such as Ms Buie, won't allow it.
Paul Moorhouse, Colorado Springs USA
I feel much the same as Rhonda. Everyone I know is shocked, disheartened, and outraged that Bush actually won this time. Apparently, we had underestimated the stupidity of the American voting public.
Robbi Pounds, New Orleans, USA
We need you here, Rhonda! What is a democracy without informed dissenters? It isn't! Instead of moving, get involved. Good government doesn't just fall into our laps - we have to work for it. God and the nations of the world are watching us, Rhonda. Let's not let them down. We can do it!
Cristobal M Palmer, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
There is always approximately 1/2 of this country that loses in an election. That's the way democracy works. It seems to me that Democrats are awfully sore losers. I dreaded it when Carter won and indeed the country suffered greatly but we stuck it out and overcame it. I have no pity for those who say they want to leave this country. Please find one that suits you and move there.
Andrea, Cincinnati, USA
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