Thursday, November 8, 2012

There's got to be a morning after...

Hey! Guess what happened today?!?!  The sun rose.  The earth kept spinning on its axis.  It wasn't the end of the world as we know it.

We all managed to survive the last four years, and we'll manage to get through the next four.  And then, as history indicates, the pendulum will swing back in the other direction, and then MSNBC can go back to whining, while Fox News can go back to their "You lost, deal with it" taglines.

Or wait... I have an idea!  How about we all quit shouting "I'm right, you're wrong," and stop thinking that 'compromise' is weakness and means the other side has to agree entirely with what you're saying?  How about -- crazy thought, I know -- we actually start working on finding some common f'n ground and building from there.  Partisanship does not equal progress.  There was a time -- many times, actually -- in this great nation when both parties actually did manage to agree on crucial issues of their day.

Can we all agree that a strong economy means everyone benefits??

Can we all agree that America is and should continue to be 'the' world leader, and lead by example??

Can we all agree that the planet is -- whatever the reason -- really getting hotter??

Can we all agree that freedom means a non-intrusive government but also means individuals respecting the rights of others??

Can we all agree that America still is the Land of Opportunity, but that there is room for improvement and we could make it even better... for all Americans??

Can we all agree that voting in America is not just a right, but also a privilege, and should not only be made easily accessible to all who qualify, but should not require waiting in line longer than it takes to watch all three 'Lord of the Ring' movies??  Director's cuts??

And can we all consider the possibility that there are more than just two solutions to any particular problem we face??  And that maybe -- just maybe -- the best solution out there doesn't come from either party??

I know that a two-sided system was a part of this nation from the very beginning. I know that politics has always been a fierce and passionate debate.  I also know that despite those fierce and passionate views on both sides, throughout our history we have managed to still find agreement when it mattered, and lived with the results afterward.

This is a time that requires us to start drinking some ideological decaf in the morning, and replace that allegiance to dogma with some higher-altitude objectivity and policy pragmatism.  Things are starting to get a little better based on the numbers, but those numbers don't reveal the problems that still exist.

We still have a skills gap -- at this point one could call it a skills canyon -- in our workforce that is contributing to the high unemployment and lingering poverty.  To close it requires adequately preparing our workforce for the technical jobs currently available --  jobs that sit vacant all over the country because employers can't find people with the right skills to fill them.  Our schools, including higher education, need a stronger rapport with the business community to adequately identify those needs, and need to amend curricula to address those needs.  Our federal government needs to make investments, and make the right policy choices, to build that infrastructure.

Speaking of infrastructure, our transportation, communication, and electrical infrastructure require massive re-investment, as they have been ignored far too long.

Yet, despite that need for investment, we still have a massive federal debt, compounded by massive annual deficits, that will require both sides to commit to long-term strategies, on both the revenue and expenditure sides, and stop kicking the fiscal can down the road.

I will always have hope and faith that America will not just survive, but thrive, and lead the world as it should.  But, Folks, can we all just get along??

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