This week has brought us a double-dose of political awareness. Monday was the day newly elected and re-elected municipal officials were sworn in, and Tuesday’s general election decided a number of questions about who would serve in a number of offices at the federal, state and county levels, not to mention amendments to the state Constitution.
It’s not likely very many people got everything they wanted in the election, but at least the looming questions about how it would turn out are settled. Now it’s time to hit the reset button and move forward.
At the federal level, not much has changed as far as the balance of power is concerned. The political pressure of the next election has been released. There is a window of opportunity for both sides to come together for the good of the nation as a whole and develop solutions to serve the people. We were pleased to read that the leader of the Senate’s Democratic majority, Harry Reid, said he had conferred Wednesday morning with his Republican counterpart in the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, to try to find a way to avoid the “fiscal cliff” that was set up in a political game of chicken earlier this year. That’s a good place to start.
Closer to home, the state Republican Party was successful in capturing the remaining statewide elected offices. The GOP is now in complete control of Alabama’s state government. With that power comes the responsibility to perform — there is no one else left to blame.
Several county-level races were also decided Tuesday.
From the local offices all the way up, our elected officials need to work with each other and with those at different levels of government to be most effective in the job they signed up for: public service.
We understand there are personal agendas and party goals involved in politics, and that’s part of the game. But the overriding priority is to have a government that does the most good for the most people and protects the rights of them all.
It’s a new day. As Reid and Boehner have demonstrated, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee, talk to each other, and find a way to take care of the people’s business.
There will never be full agreement on every issue, but there are times when the best thing to do is agree to disagree and find common ground to keep working. That’s what public service is about.