An issue has arisen about which I have found no dissenters. Nary a soul laments the close of the 2006 mid-term elections. In my estimation, not a single person was unaware an election was held Nov. 7. Candidate races, along with constitutional proposals and citizen referendums, provided a bounty for newspapers, radio and TV. Blogs and online news services allowed unprecedented dissection of each and every ballot question. Professional forecasters wore us out with endless polls while automated message services blessed us with “personal” calls from heavyweights such as Sen. Kit Bond and First Lady Laura Bush. Unfortunately, I was not at home when Laura called.
Not only was the election hotly debated, but people have been anxious to discuss the results. Comments run the gamut. One breakfast mate was near giddy about Democrats taking over both houses of Congress. Another stated that all candidates were “crooks, and don’t tell me otherwise.” Two already were lamenting their votes for Claire McCaskill. They agreed that the most negative aspect of her win is having to listen to her nonsense for the next six years. The cigarette tax was roundly criticized by the Bull Pen regulars, igniting brisk animosity toward the City Council’s smoking ban.
My FedEx driver was particularly incensed about the stem cell initiative. I was impressed with his depth of knowledge. He felt the ballot language was deceptive. He supported adult stem cell research. However, he was confounded as to how any thinking soul can deny life begins at conception. Deep anger best describes his reaction to the proposition.
Ahh, but life does go on. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
We all have to go to work, chase after our kids and do the wash. Most of us take an optimistic approach. For example, a beautiful financial planner with whom I am acquainted stated: “Well, with the Democrats running Congress, the estate tax will not be permanently abolished. Helping families plan for paying those taxes will be good for business.” Those involved in politics on a daily basis and who lost will question simple wisdom of this nature.
The fact of the matter, though, is talking heads will keep on talking. They will turn their self-indulgent conversations to the new era in Washington. Both parties will begin diligent planning for 2008. A pause in the geysers of political hot air will be a welcome relief for most of us.
Few welcomed the negative advertising. We falsely assumed we were above such tactics. Some of the ads were juvenile; others were downright offensive. Still, many more were informative and offered useful information. Life in America, in many respects, is idyllic. We live comfortably. From top to bottom, we are generally lazy. War has not been waged on our soil for many decades. Educational opportunities abound.
Medical advances are accelerating. Employment exists for anyone willing to bite his or her lip and work. Even disadvantaged members of society enjoy unprecedented aid and relief.
The best advice available after this mid-term election emphasizes caution and optimism. Democrats cannot afford to oversee a rise in unemployment, inflation or gasoline prices. National security cannot be compromised to any degree if Democrats wish to retain their seats in 2008. Republicans, on the other hand, need to make lemonade. In 2004, they maintained control of Congress by slim margins. Their minority position now is razor thin and easily reversed under the right circumstances.
All in all, most voters care little for either party. Positions and principles are the most important.
With all of this said, we must remember that, regardless of its shortcomings, American democracy has produced the greatest prosperity and liberty known to modern man. Our elections may be messy, but they are something we can live with. The cost of this system, in human and financial terms, is much more palatable than civil war. We live to argue another day. We are blessed to be Americans, and what a great honor that is.