Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 3, 2013

Rise above differences

Kokomo Tribune

---- — We breathed a sigh of relief just after the 2012 state and federal elections were over.

The democratic process wasn’t always pretty last year, and there were certainly some low points in the campaigns. Both sides in the state and national election campaigns aired some advertising of which they couldn’t have been proud.

But we anticipated a brief respite from campaigning. Indiana had no election in 2013, and the year off would give all of us a chance to focus on finding solutions to the problems facing our state and nation.

OK — so we were a bit naive.

On the national level, we’ve had three years of partisan gridlock, with Republicans and Democrats finding themselves at loggerheads even on seemingly routine matters. Both sides blame the other, and both accuse their colleagues across the aisle of being unwilling to compromise.

Democrats remain in control of the U.S. Senate, and Republicans are still in control of the House. Today, we’re witnessing a partial shutdown of the federal government for the first time in 17 years.

This country can’t take another year of partisan warfare. It’s time for a truce.

Here’s the thing both sides need to remember: No one won election in 2012 with the promise of maintaining the status quo. The voters chose candidates who professed a willingness to work across the aisle.

The voters clearly didn’t like everything that either party had to offer. They want the two sides to meet in the middle, to give as much as they take.

If the past three years have proven anything, they’ve shown that neither party can solve this nation’s problems alone. We need leaders who will undertake an honest search for solutions.

There is a reason voter perceptions of Congress are at historic lows. It’s time for an end to the foolishness. Both sides must acknowledge they cannot win every fight.

The political process relies on the occasional election, and campaigns are an essential part of the process. Today, though, it’s time to give politics a rest and get on with the business of governing.