So, what’s next? That’s up to us, not our politicians

Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan found ways to work together. It’s time for our leaders to do the same.

Barack Obama continues as president, the Senate remains in the hands of Democrats, the House continues to be controlled by Republicans. It looks like a recipe for at least two more years of gridlock. But it doesn’t have to be.

If we want to see progress in addressing the issues that face us – large deficits and debt, a sluggish economy, diminished opportunities for our young people – both sides will have to give. Both sides will have to stop being so dogmatic and work on being practical. Both sides will have to compromise to put in place a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.

If we want our leaders to stop being so ideological, they have to know that’s what we want. They have to hear that there are rewards for working together and punishments (being kicked out of office) for obstructing progress.

They also have to know that they don’t work for lobbyists, and they don’t work for Grover Norquist. They work for us, and they have to know we expect better.

I’m writing my president, my senators and my representative (once we figure out whether it’s Vernon Parker or Kyrsten Sinema), to tell them that we expect some pragmatic solutions. I’m urging you to do the same, and to do it often.

To the right of this post, you’ll see a “No Budget, No Pay” widget that will take you to No Labels, a group of people dedicated to telling our leaders to stop fighting and start fixing. Check it out, and sign up. It’s only by seeing this sentiment expressed in massive numbers that our Congress, and our president, will sit up and listen.

I continue to be hopeful about America. We’re good people, and collectively, we’re a great nation. Now let’s go prove it, to ourselves and the world. If your candidates won, it’s not a time to gloat. If they lost, it’s not a time to pout. It’s time to stop fighting against each other and start fighting to solve our problems. We can do it, and we need to tell our leaders that we expect nothing less.

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