11/08/06 — Change, really? Voters will have to judge whether election mattered

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Change, really? Voters will have to judge whether election mattered

The political tide has changed in the U.S. House of Representatives and could be poised to do the same in the U.S. Senate.

So, now that a new party has taken leadership of at least one portion of Congress, there will be profound differences in policy and major changes made in the direction this nation takes, right?

Well, maybe.

As voters, we are big on sending messages to incumbent representatives, especially if we are not sure that we particularly like what they are doing — or not doing — in office. We want to remind them that they are there to represent us, not to tow the party line or to further their own agendas.

And, it never hurts to remind a career politician that he or she is not endowed with his or her seat for life, either. Term limits is a concept that while not appealing necessarily as a hard and fast rule — sounds pretty good when they are enforced at the ballot box.

Mid-term elections are notorious for their tendancy to result in a whole new slate of leaders. There are countless examples of changes that had a direct effect on the political landscape for both parties. Just as easily as one party is out, it can also, that easily, be back in the driver’s seat.

So, the fact that we have decided as a nation to offer the other party a chance to run things for a while is not necessarily the harbringer of dismay and despair for those who will no longer be calling all the shots. And, it is no guarantee that there will be great change, either.

And that is where we come in.

Over the next two years, we need to watch. Now that the Democrats have been given their chance to effect change in policies ranging from the economy to Iraq, we need to watch to see what they do. There will be no more room for finger-pointing and critiques without follow-through.

Now is the time for solid ideas and action, not just talk.

And that is what we need to watch for — as the employers of this new Congress — over the next two years. We need to make sure new ideas are more than just lip service and that promises made are kept.

The next couple of years are critical for the United States. We are deciding as a nation who we want to be and what we want to stand for.

It is our job to make sure the people we put in charge of our futures are providing more than just a change. We need them to provide leadership. Over the next few months, we will see if they really are up to the task.

Published in Editorials on November 8, 2006 10:55 AM