Forward to the past

Andrew Breland, The Elephant in the Room

This is a column I never wanted to write.

It was my hope that I could wake up Wednesday morning (after sleeping less than a few hours) excited about the impending Romney presidency. I would sit down to my computer to write a column thanking Americans, applauding the Romney campaign, and encouraging the president to gratefully step down from his position on Jan. 20. The piece would not only have thanked the president for his service to the country but also would have forecast a better America on the horizon. But obviously that is not the column I am able to write.

Instead, we live in a country that reelected Barack Obama – a country whose voters endorsed Obama’s vision of a larger welfare state, more government mandates in education, and Keynesian economics. That is fine. But in reelecting the president, the country has also endorsed Obama’s record of trillion dollar debts, spending at 23 percent of GDP, and a unilaterally deciding policy from the Oval Office. Again, fine.

Americans voted and I happened to come out on the losing end of that vote.

In the coming weeks, Democrats will applaud Americans, and continue with their policies of the past four years. Hey, if it worked once, why can’t it work again?

Members of my party though, will lament the election, the ignorant voter who did not take time to research the issues, and the disparity among the parties in racial votes. My party will attack itself as being too conservative or too moderate and ultimately the argument will become a moot point. That is, because “Gosh darn it, there’s an election in two years. We need to be ready.” But party identity is an argument I will approach in time.

No, instead, I will argue that both parties need to understand what they are elected to do – make laws. No one expects them to adhere to party platform religiously. No one expects them to go to Washington, scream ideological slurs, and hope for agreement from the other (insulted) party. What everyone does expect is compromise on policy, compromise on politics, and compromise for the country.

As long as our country continues to grow and succeed, I will be a happy American. The next month and a half will decide whether that comes true.

In the next month, Washington has to deal with expiring tax cuts for all Americans, a rapidly approaching debt ceiling, and sequestration – cuts to the Department of Defense and other government workers that threaten as many as 3 million American jobs. Even now, the economy has reentered a period of instability. The day after the election European markets closed down, in some cases, nearly four percent. Wall Street opened down two percent and kept falling all day.

I know we can emerge from these challenges as a unified country, but that means that politicians will have to do more than normal. Politicians will have to become statesmen and “compromise” has to return as a good word in D.C.

President Obama has a daunting term ahead of him. Conflicts abroad over European debts, Iranian nuclear weapons, and Chinese economics will combine with domestic concerns about our own economy, entitlements, and immigration. All of these issues, and more, will be addressed during the next four years. But if we can come together and legislate not as politicians, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans, we can only foresee a brighter American future.

Good luck to the reelected president. Thank you to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for leaving everything on the field. We will need all the help we can get to come out of this conflict.

And with that, there is only one thing to say: God Bless America.