With the close of the 2012 election, it can be easy for us to remain divided. However if we want our nation to move forward, we need to get past the differences highlighted during this past campaign season and focus on ways to improve our nation.
The election is over.
After over a year of frenzied build-up, the votes have been cast and counted, and it’s clear who our leaders will be in the coming years.
However now that the dust has settled it can be hard to figure out where to go from here, especially for those who supported a candidate or candidates that lost in Tuesday night’s election.
The easy path is clearly defined.
To those whose candidates lost, the easy way would be to become bitter and refuse to work with those who were elected. For those whose candidates won, the easy thing to do is to gloat and refuse to consider any point of view that isn’t dictated by the winning candidates.
Those may be the easiest ways to react to the results of the 2012 election, but they aren’t the right ways.
Regardless of your personal political beliefs, we all have a responsibility to shake hands, patch up the wounds sustained during the brutal campaign season and get on to the business of moving our country forward.
That doesn’t mean we have to side with our elected officials on every issue, not by a long shot. It does mean we have to make an effort to view the actions of our elected officials for what they actually are.
No one is absolutely good or bad, or absolutely right or wrong. Credit has to be given to those we disagree with when that credit is earned.
On the other side, we have to be willing to criticize those we usually agree with when it is called for. This sort of balance is critical if we are to achieve the sort of country everyone — regardless of political affiliation — wants.
On a local level this is a very attainable task for several reasons. Not only does the average person have more access to a local elected official, but we in Moffat County are also lucky enough to have elected officials who are down to earth and easy to talk to.
We hope and expect that trend to continue, and our newly-elected officials can expect to hear from us if it doesn't.
On a national level this concept can be more difficult. It’s hard to see a national politician do something we disagree with because it creates a feeling of helplessness, which can lead to a person simply giving up on trying to make things better.
We must make an effort to overcome those feelings of helplessness, because giving up is the only true way we can render ourselves helpless.
As hard as it seems now, we all need to put the scars and barbs from this election season behind us and look to the future without any preconceived notions of how we think things will be. We need to be willing to work together, even with those we have seen as opponents for the past year or two.
Otherwise instead of moving forward, we’ll be stuck in the past.