They said the 2008 presidential campaign would never end. On Tuesday night America proved them wrong.

So many and massive are the challenges facing the nation, they said, Americans might keep postponing the election until they went away by themselves. But as captivating a distraction as the campaign surely was, in the end we went to the polls.

They’ve been saying a lot of things about the USA over the past few years. They’ve said Americans will borrow anything but trouble, that being the last thing still manufactured at home.

They’ve said the next president will owe his election to the American people and everything else to the Chinese government.

Maybe they’re right about that.

But the important thing is that America has turned the page. Turned the page and dog-eared the top corner so America can get back to it after the Super Bowl.

For the time to bear our burdens and squarely face our challenges will come soon enough. Now is the time for healing. Now is the time for Republicans and Democrats, Red State America and Blue State America, to acknowledge that for all our disagreements and sharp talk and occasional chatter of secession, we are all much the same.

For instance, we were all willing to reject our chosen candidate without batting an eye if he ever said anything that was too much of a downer. So they both made changing America sound pretty easy—you drill here, you tax there, you bring the army home or you stay the course. They made salvation sound as simple as getting beyond George W. Bush. Something we can all now agree is poppycock, which is why our nation enters dangerous and uncharted waters when the Great Unifier steps down as president in January.

The role of the press is to counsel, solicited or not, the nation’s leaders in times of trial. The Reader takes its duties solemnly. In fact, we found we had a special message for each potential leader, and so urgent and ardent were those messages—and phrased with no little eloquence, we’d like to think—that only the front page* would do.

With this issue, we speak our piece.v

*We made an educated guess at press time Tuesday which front page should actually appear on our front page—but its companion is equally a keepsake.