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The Day After – Time to Start Again Together

It’s the day after the mid-term elections. We hear about the great “shellacking” the Democrats got in the election. News sources talk about a hurricane swamping the Democrats. Some folks are feeling doom and gloom. Others are elated. Some think nothing good can possibly come of a divided Congress. Others think a divided Congress is the best thing for the country.

Two things strike me right off the bat.

1) The retaking of the House by the Republicans should not have been unanticipated. Congress passed some of the most important and most controversial bills, dealt with issue that have evaded solution for years, and laid the foundation for a new era of budget control by addressing the rising cost of health care – the “elephant in the living room” that is driving the rising national cost for Medicare and other health care services. In classic style, the folks who put themselves on the line to pass this agenda that will move us forward in the 21st Century, are being punished. It’s one of those, “Never let a good deed go unpunished” kinds of things. The same thing happened after Medicare and the Voting Rights Acts were passed in the mid-1960s. Yet today we take them for granted and don’t seriously consider their repeal.

2. People were upset about the slowness of the economic recovery and the lack of jobs and voted to toss out the folks they had hoped would fix it all quickly. It’s always tough to be out of work. It’s always tough to have credit tight so businesses can’t hire workers. It’s always tough when a housing bubble bursts. It’s always tough when major industries crash or come close to crashing in a recession. This was the worst recession since the Great Depression. Economists predict that it will take 2-3 more years to recover from it. This is a problem that took years to develop. It will take years to resolve. In the meantime, thank Heavens for the social safety net enacted by previous generations of Americans and reinforced by Congress and the Obama Administration! Lots of people have food to eat and roofs over their heads today because of the caring and consciences of our elected officials.

Unless our Representatives and Senators can find a way to work with each other across party lines, stepping away from the politics of confrontation and “NO” that characterized their interaction during this most recent Congress, it will likely take longer for the economy to recover. Whether they work together or whether they decide to continue to obstruct and block each other’s efforts, both parties will bear responsibility for the economy in 2012.

Moving forward, let’s see if we can’t work together to deal with the issues that arise in a nation such as ours, where people elect representatives to make decisions in the best interest of the nation as a whole.  It’s not about Me and it’s not about You as individuals. It’s about Us as a community among many in the world. And in an extended way, it’s about Us as part of that larger world community as well. (But that’s a topic for other posts.)

Here’s a clip from MSNBC of President Obama’s speech today about the election and his hopes for the coming two years.


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