Election season’s over, now problem-solving must begin

The latest contests are behind us in the contact sport that is election politics. It is time to move on.
Americans fervently disagree, debate and then act on the challenges of the day at voting screens. We did that last week, deciding matters from who would sit in the White House down to whether Georgia should bring back a state commission on charter schools.
Tuesday’s election results show that we remain a nation divided along the brightest of lines. President Barack Obama saw a thin margin of re-election victory in the national popular vote. Here in Georgia, we remained reliably red, with Republican Mitt Romney garnering 53 percent of the votes.
Strongly held divergent beliefs are as old as American history or government, as the enduring nature of our two-party political system proves. The danger to effective governance and the republic itself comes when robust argument becomes the end-goal — rather than simply being part of the process of getting needed things done. This nation cannot suffer four more years of a partisan-powered standstill. There is too much to do, and no further time to waste.
That is why we believe Georgians, as never before, should embrace this state’s motto exhorting wisdom, justice and moderation in the days and months ahead. Hewing closely to those simple, profound words and the message they comprise will let Georgia live up to our calling and standing as one of the nation’s most influential states. We must do that, for ourselves, our children and the generations that will follow us. We can compromise, all of us, without compromising principle.
Georgia, and the rest of the South that worked and hoped for Romney’s success, must not now sit out the coming work that will determine to a large extent the future path of this state and this nation and the prosperity of both. We cannot be mesmerized into destructive inaction by the promise of a future election’s clean sweeping away of those with whom we disagree. Tuesday’s results showcase that risk. We cannot be left behind. Rather, we should lead the way, all of us.
Even in a hard-edged partisan day, we’ve seen examples of pragmatic political leadership that can reach across aisles to try to get things done. Georgia’s Republican U.S. senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, have at times shown a statesman-like willingness to do just that. Democratic Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Republican Gov. Nathan Deal have likewise locked arms in broad agreement on important matters. Former Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin also managed to engage in healthy bipartisanship without compromising party beliefs. We need more of that, particularly from Georgia’s Republican U.S. House members, who often seem more willing to recite party applause lines than to help lead us out of the current morass.
Gov. Deal and Georgia face a fast-coming test in how we will operate within the new political reality as it relates to Obamacare. States must decide by Friday whether they will set up their own online health insurance purchase exchanges or cede that responsibility to Washington.
Georgia must also decide whether to expand Medicaid to cover more of the estimated 1 in 5 residents here lacking health insurance.
The cost is not cheap, but as we’ve said here before, we believe the state and its citizens will get the best overall deal by proactively working within the law of the land, especially now that election results make “repeal and replace” unrealistic anytime soon.
If we stubbornly refuse to act on the current reality, our state’s taxpayers may end up shipping dollars to Washington to subsidize other states that have signed on to the changes. That should not happen. Georgia should act now and leave the prospect of dumping health care changes until the next election cycle.
As the nation struggles to find the right path ahead, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a powerful symbol of one side of Washington’s partisan gulch, offered a hint of encouragement in calling for broad-based action to move the nation back from pending fiscal disaster. In a speech Wednesday that held firm to conservative tenets, Boehner nevertheless said: “Let’s challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us. Let’s rise above the dysfunction, and do the right thing together for our country in a bipartisan way.”
Really, we have no other choice. In an oft-quoted 1858 speech, Abraham Lincoln warned , “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The New Testament offers an even more comprehensive caution: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”
We must stand in Georgia. We have fought too long for what we have gained to do anything else. We must stand as a nation, too, continuing to be that brightest of lights for an entire world.

Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board.

7 comments Add your comment

Charles Joseph

November 12th, 2012
12:42 pm

With talk of the “fiscal cliff” in the air it’s time for our “leaders” AND the general public to seek other solutions to our debt problem and not keep doing what we’ve been doing and expecting different results.
One “other” solution is the FAIR TAX, a reasonable, bipartisan alternative that is both fair and easy to understand. A system that allows you to keep your whole paycheck and only pay taxes on what you spend.The current federal income tax system is clearly broken — unfair, overly complex, and almost impossible for most Americans to understand.

The FairTax is a national sales tax that treats every person equally and allows American businesses to thrive, while generating the same tax revenue as the current three-million-word-plus word tax code. Under the FairTax, every person living in the United States pays a sales tax on purchases of new goods and services, excluding necessities due to the prebate. The FairTax rate after necessities is 23% and equal to the lowest current income tax bracket (15%) combined with employee payroll taxes (7.65%), both of which will be eliminated.

I urge citizens go to FAIRTAX.ORG to research on their own (there’s a lot of mis-information out there) what the Fair Tax is about and then decide whether you think it’s good or bad (I think it’s good).

The other side of this coin is: it’s not TAXES, but SPENDING, that got us in this mess! While the Fair Tax will help solve the TAX problem (and, in my view, it’s the ONLY solution), only citizen involvement in government will solve the SPENDING problem; “we the people” must hold our elected officials accountable! If we choose not to get involved (and the majority of us do), then shut up and live with what you get!!

zeke

November 12th, 2012
10:50 am

The only way to solve the nation’s problems is to remove all democrats, liberals, progressives, socialists, enviro nuts from all elected offices!!!!

Bullseye

November 12th, 2012
10:33 am

-> Chip…turn your hood around so you can see through the eyeholes.

Common Sense

November 12th, 2012
9:49 am

Must begin? There is no incentives to resolve the problems. These issues are being used to divide and conquer.

Before this year is out, we will be hearing that the solution will be achievable only after the next election in 2014.

Robert

November 12th, 2012
9:22 am

It is time for reconciliation. The American People (elderly, women, minorities, gays & lesbians, Muslims & Jews, etc.) have spoken. President Obama was re-elected because the GOP failed to realize they could not win this election or any other election in the future relying on their previous victory strategy of winning all the Southern States and capturing a few Northern States which in past elections was enough for the GOP to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the White House. The GOP can no longer rely on homegrown terrorist group(s) known as the “tea party” (klansmen, skinheads, militia’s, birther’s, etc. ) and other angry White Men to win. The GOP must create a new strategy that is inclusive of all the American People.

The American People

Chip

November 12th, 2012
8:28 am

Yes, that’s right — all hail Dear Ruler! And all who opposed Dear Ruler, shut up! This is not a democracy. Dear Ruler, the Grand and Wonderful Barack-oclause, will take what we peasants need from all those greedy, selfish racist bigots (who actually get up and go to work all day) and GIVE GIVE GIVE it to US! Woo Hoo! FREE STUFF! Obama phones, Obama houses, Obama dollars, food stamps! No incentive or reason to get a job or be responsible, we get to LIVE OFF THE SWEAT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S BROWS! Let’s take another hit off the bong with some of our free Obama weed and laugh at all those chumps and suckers who actually work! Thank you, Santa Barack-oclause! We didn’t feel like working anyway!

Ain’t that what it’s all about?

All the socialists and slackers know what they voted for… but all you so-called “moderates” have no idea what you have just done to this country.

Charles Douglas Edwards

November 11th, 2012
6:03 pm

CONGRATULATIONS to President Barack Obama on his re-election !!!

We urge the Republican and Democratic Party to work together.

Together we stand divided we fall.