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Next president must reach across the aisle

Local Commentary

Posted: March 14, 2008 1:19 a.m.
Updated: May 15, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Does partisanship have a date with death in November of this year? In addition to all being members of the U.S. Senate, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama all have a history of working in a bipartisan fashion.

Let's be honest, if the next president of the United States wants to move our country forward - and what president doesn't? - he or she will have to work to bring Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives and moderates together. Both McCain and Obama have been talking about this during their campaigns.

We cannot afford another president with a mentality of governing by "50 plus 1." We need leaders who are willing to meet and be fair with one another and willing to compromise. Republicans often cite President Reagan as the "great conservative"; however, as governor and as president he worked with Democrats to get things done. The same can be said of President Clinton, when he worked with Republicans during his administration.

Our country is headed into a recession - or if you ask billionaire Warren Buffet, we're already in one. Jobs are being lost and sent overseas; the cost of living is constantly increasing because of the rising price of groceries, fuel, heating oil and other basic necessities. Wages for workers are stagnant at best, and when wages do increase, they are not enough to keep pace with the cost of living. We have low-income seniors who are being forced to make heartbreaking decisions like whether to go without food or medication in order to have enough funds to cover their rent. This should not be happening in the greatest country in the world!

We have an infrastructure that needs to be updated for the 21st century and beyond; we have to prepare ourselves and the next generation to compete in the global economy; we have to tackle climate change; we have to prepare for the retirement of baby boomers; we have to prepare to deal with the rise of China not just on an economic scale, but also on a military one.

The recent election in Russia shows that the country is clearly not moving forward toward democracy, but taking a step backward toward its former self. Then there's the genocide taking place in Darfur. I haven't even mentioned Iraq or the war on global terrorism.

How about health care? Or immigration reform? And don't forget our national debt, which is approaching $9 trillion. Partisanship will not solve any of these issues. Only together can we move forward; only together can we assure that our children and grandchildren will have the opportunity to pursue the American dream; only together can we solve climate change, because the Almighty made us the caretaker of the world and we have a duty to be good stewards.

I look toward the November election with optimism because the last three remaining candidates running for president - Nader doesn't count - have a track record of working in a bipartisan manner.

Change will happen this November. If elected, Sen. McCain will be the oldest person elected to the presidency; he will be 72 years old when he takes the oath of office. If Sen. Clinton wins, she will be the first woman to become president, and if Sen. Obama wins he will be the first African-American to win. I hope that whoever wins will not only bring himself or herself to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but will bring the rest of us, as well.

Michael Cruz is a Santa Clarita Valley resident and occasional contributor to the opinion pages. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.

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