- The Washington Times - Friday, November 9, 2012

I am grateful. While Syrian President Bashar Assad massacres his own people to stay in power, we in America just witnessed a strongly contested election for the most powerful position in our government — without bloodshed. Had Mitt Romney won, President Obama in January would have handed over to him the reins of America. For his part, Mr. Romney gave a gracious concession speech, and he will not pursue a bloody coup.

Along the way, opposition to our current president has been expressed by some news organizations, on Facebook, in town halls and in classrooms, just as vehemently as it was when President George W. Bush was in office. Thankfully, those opposing the president can do so without fear of being killed or tortured or having family members “disappear” just because they have expressed their disagreement.

In four years, we will have another election, and again, there will be a guarantee of a bloodless transfer of power to a new president. As I look at the events around the world, that fact is truly awe-inspiring. What a country this is.

While there are things that I disagree with about our government’s policies and politics, Election Day highlights why I am so thankful to be an American and to have served alongside others who have fought and died to ensure that our democracy endures.

MARK BAIRD

Spokane, Wash.