First things first: I’m very happy — and relieved — that President Obama was re-elected yesterday. If you live in North America, that whooshing sound coming from the east was Europe heaving a collective sigh of relief.

In reading the NYT on the results, I’ve noticed a trend among the reader comments written by those who, I’m confident in guessing, didn’t vote for Obama. A number of them compare the future of the U.S. to that of the “socialist paradises” of Europe — namely, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and France.

I’m not sure what these people are on about, frankly. In the particular paradise where I live, the government — which is most emphatically NOT socialist — is busy dismantling the social safety net, all in the name of austerity. Health care, education, housing, and pensions have all come under the axe, and things are likely to get brutally worse before they get better.

So here’s what I’d like to ask those posters who are worried that Obama will remake the U.S. in the image of Western Europe: Just what do you have against health care for everyone, basic education accessible to all children, and old-age pensions that mean the elderly don’t have to ask for handouts in the streets? How could such basic fairness be anything less than “the American way”?

I hope that the next four years will find U.S. citizens and politicians working for the good of all, regardless of party affiliation. To me, it seems obvious that there is no other path forward.