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Our View: A look back, forward from the election

Posted: November 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Tuesday’s presidential election has been described as one of the most important elections of our time, and well it might be. America, a country that is generally just to the right of center, has moved decidedly left, at least politically. National health care, redistribution of wealth through “taxing the rich” and the advancement of social legislation are the prevailing agendas of the victors.

Red state America will resist these measures vigorously. Unfortunately, at a time when national leaders need to come together to solve economic problems, that could handicap the country for generations, we remain profoundly, maybe permanently, divided.

Soon, the parties will reconvene in Washington, D.C., to tackle our most pressing problem the so called “fiscal cliff.” We would hope that our national elected leaders would rise above their differences and ward off this impending economic disaster instead of the more likely scenario of a “blame game renewed.” America’s ratio of federal debt to GDP (103 percent) is higher than that of any country in Europe except Greece. The consequences of ineffective action are significant.

The Obama administration and Congress are in a tough spot. Raising taxes in a wounded economy only exacerbates the hemorrhaging. Eliminating government subsidies to citizens who vote will produce public reactions like we are seeing in Greece. Reducing military spending elevates America’s vulnerability in an increasingly dangerous world. Deciding whether government should play a larger role in how people conduct their lives or a smaller role with more personal liberty will be a contentious and noisy battle between the “red and the blue.”

Mitt Romney, a decent, remarkably competent, but uninspiring man, lost to a superior campaign machine with an aggressive, resilient leader who has the gift of touching people with his speech. The Democratic campaign effort won the states they had to, were successful at blaming the administration’s ills for the past four years on former President George W. Bush, and brilliantly tapped into the growing Latino vote, which many observers believed put them over the top.

The Republicans lost an election they should have won. Their conservative message for America is still viable but needs some refining within a diverse citizenry and a new generation of party leaders to trumpet it. The economic difficulty and challenge of the next four years will certainly give them that opportunity.

A more lasting impact that this presidential election will have is on the Supreme Court. The court, split 5-4 along ideological lines, has four justices in their 70s. With a left-leaning administration and Senate, one or two retirements could change the direction and orientation of the court for decades.

So the election is over and it is time to move on. All of our national leaders, no matter what party, must deal with reality and do their best within the system to effectively govern this country and get something done. Stop the blame game and try to work together. We, the people, demand it.

We urge all citizens to stay engaged not just during the election season but all the time. We all need to let our representatives know that they will be judged on what they do, not what they say.

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