01/17/06 — Let us resolve: Demand substance rather than political posturing

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Let us resolve: Demand substance rather than political posturing

Perhaps, since it is the new year, and we are all thinking about our New Year’s resolutions, we should make a vow right now.

No matter how much they try to draw us in, and no matter how much posturing, huffing and puffing and pontificating they do, we will not pay a bit of attention to either political party’s efforts to get us off-message as elections draw near.

But it is important that we start now. Even if the congressional elections are still a little less than 11 months away, and there won’t be a bid for the nation’s top office for another two years.

The battle for the White House in 2008 has already begun, with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, long-rumored to be the Democratic Party’s next candidate for the job, sending out an olive branch here and a barb there — all designed to stir the waters and test them, just a bit.

Now, on Martin Luther King Day, a day to unite people of all races against the common cause of injustice and intolerance, she delivers a speech Monday that includes the reference that the U.S. House of Representatives is run “like a plantation.”

No one could possibly have missed that symbolism. And see? Stirring the waters.

And Sen. Clinton will not be the only one who will make a reference here, suggest guilt there. There will be a lot of finger-pointing over the next few months as both parties start positioning themselves for the next power-grab.

What we have to do as voters and citizens who care about their country is pay really close attention to what has substance and what is just more of the same.

Americans have a lot of issues they care about — health care, education, the war on terrorism and the safety of our country. They want to talk about taxes and priorities for the future. They want to know that someone is looking ahead, not pointing fingers from behind.

We do not as a nation want to play politics with the lives of the men and women who are serving in the armed forces overseas. And we should not stand for anyone who will use that issue as a springboard for an election bid — nor should we allow anyone to get elected who isn’t willing to deal with the reality of the fight against terrorism.

We have a lot we care about. We have a lot we want to see done over the next four to six years. And if we want leaders with the same attention to detail, we have to set that stage now — and send a message to those who think otherwise.

Perhaps if we set a goal now, not to listen to or fall for the normal posturing that goes along with elections, we can set an agenda for the mid-term and presidential elections that will actually focus on making this country a better place for everyone.

There is enough hot air in Washington these days. It is time for a little more substance.

Published in Editorials on January 17, 2006 10:51 AM