Sunday, November 7, 2010

Turning a political page

We can all come out of hiding now because our latest political election is finished. The assault on our senses will ease up for a while.

There will be no more automated phone calls that interrupt us during dinner (at least for a while).

When we return home in the evening, our mailboxes will not be stuffed with items in which political candidates deal dirt about the people they are running against. Study after study has shown that negative campaigning turns voters off, but it seems most of the candidates this time around did not get the memo on that.

We will be able to read our favorite newspapers and watch the evening news without hearing about the results of the latest polls. I get sick of polls. Polls can be useful, but they are overemphasized in elections. I think 68 percent of us understand that.

Of course, the analysis of what transpired Tuesday will be endlessly re-hashed for the next few weeks. In Washington, the new representatives and senators will not take office until January so there will be plenty of time to speculate.

In general, voters said they wanted change and that is what they got. The U.S. House of Representatives now has a Republican majority, while the Democratic majority in the Senate got smaller.

Wanting change is a common refrain from voters but sometimes voters do not know what kind of change they want. In 2008, President Barack Obama earned the White House by promising change, and after trying to do that for two years, voters sent the president a message by sending more Republicans to Washington.

Voters are in a difficult spot when it comes to wanting change. I believe voters genuinely want that, but they do not trust either major party enough to give them total control.

Two years ago, when Obama was elected, voters sent strong Democratic majorities to Congress. However, that has all changed now.

As much as voters want change, they seem to find more security in gridlock. Mark these words, within three months after the new politicians take office in January, there will be disparaging remarks from both Democrats and Republicans about the inability to make progress.

Gridlock will be back with a capital 'G.'

After all, by splitting the party in charge in Congress, the process in which matters will be addressed will be slowed down.

However, the public does want gridlock in some ways. I think people feel if there is gridlock then all that is going to take place in Washington is a bunch of talking. Since they do not trust either party, talking becomes an acceptable substitute for passing legislation.

Though this phenomenon may seem confusing, it really is not. As much as people say they want change, actually changing can be very scary. Change brings uncertainty. It is the opposite of security.

We may have been able to get away with this in previous decades, but we can not now. The challenges we face are too daunting. Gridlock can no longer help bring security.

At some point, we are going to have to hold our noses and make difficult choices. Each generation says it wants to leave our country better than they found it. We say we want to leave our country better so today’s children can have a better life than we had.

If nothing else, we need to make this our country's rallying cry now. The national debt is $13 trillion and getting bigger. We can’t spend our way out of the problems we currently have.

If we do not change our current path, our nation’s best years may have already passed.

The United States may have entered the autumn of its life.


Tenn Irish said...

Something interesting to think about came out of the news conference Obama held after the election. The reps of the Fourth Estate seemed to be like sharks in the water, but did not go after Pelosi. From that I draw the inference that the press blame Obama for the loss, not Pelosi. Hmmmmm.

Chris said...

Obama has definitely lost his mojo, especially over the last six months or so. It will be interesting to see if he can re-invent himself like President Clinton did in 1994.