The 2012 elections have come and gone. You almost could have heard a loud sigh Nov. 7. That sound was a sigh of relief from all the political advertising that invaded the television and radio airwaves for 18 months. No matter what one’s political affiliation, I think we can agree that we don’t want to hear any more of that for a while.
It might be safe to say that almost 50 percent of the electorate was not happy with the results in the presidential election. On the other hand, the other 50 percent or so may have been happy – but there is still much uncertainty and a very long road to travel.
But how do we move forward? Republicans are licking their wounds, and many are wondering what happened. Others are looking at them saying, “Are you kidding me?”
THE TERM “moving forward” became a mantra for many campaigns around the country. I heard the term often in conversations over the past few months, too. What’s interesting is that the words “moving forward” mean something different to everyone.
One thing about moving forward: Change forces us to move forward. I realize some may disagree – especially after seeing and hearing the doom-and-gloom commercials from many special-interest groups.
This election reminds me of a nasty domestic violence relationship in which the husband beat his wife so badly you couldn’t recognize her face. She refused to press charges even after being hospitalized for weeks. He is still at home when she finally gets released from the hospital, and he has to look at her two black eyes, broken jaw and look of despair.
Our national Republican elected officials had to go back to their jobs in Congress, back to their constituents and their backers – beat up, bruised and slightly disfigured. That can’t possibly be a good place to be, if you’re looking at the situation from a negative perspective. There is no single answer to why the results came out the way they did, but it is necessary for all of us to move forward.
What moving forward looks like to Republicans, Democrats, independents, Libertarians, followers of the Green Party or any other party will be completely different. I often ask myself, “Do politicians today listen to the people anymore?” Have they considered what moving forward means to them? Politicians are talking loud about one thing and the people – the voters, the constituents – are not hearing them. Just like children, everyone wants to be heard every now and then.
Moving forward, in our local community or on a national level, sends a positive tone to me. But it doesn’t mean the path won’t be without a few bumps along the way. That even includes lost elections.
Moving forward means finding common ground, building bridges and forming unlikely allies. Moving forward takes leadership. America desperately craves authentic leadership from both major political parties.
We are not looking for the perfect person, We are looking for elected officials who listen, pay attention and take chances; who are not lukewarm; and who are willing to make tough decisions, even when it’s not popular.
I SAW AN interview on television the other day with the author of a newly released book about Thomas Jefferson, who was known for his politics of positivism. I found it quite fascinating because I was in the middle of writing this column. The book’s author is best-selling author Jon Meacham.
From Amazon.com: “In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could do both, often simultaneously. Such is the art of power.
“Thomas Jefferson hated confrontation, and yet his understanding of power and of human nature enabled him to move men and to marshal ideas, to learn from his mistakes, and to prevail. ... The Jefferson story resonates today not least because he led his nation through ferocious partisanship and cultural warfare amid economic change and external threats, and also because he embodies an eternal drama, the struggle of the leadership of a nation to achieve greatness in a difficult and confounding world.”
I can’t wait to buy this book.
SO WHAT DOES moving forward mean to you? I believe all of us should play a role in moving forward in our homes, communities, businesses, organizations and institutions – collectively and individually. We are at the close of another year. There is so much promise and opportunity, despite what things may look like. Popular gospel recording artist Hezekiah Walker has a hit song called Moving Forward, and part of the lyrics say, “I’m not going back, moving ahead.” The word “move” as a verb means, by one dictionary, “When you move something or when it moves, its position changes and it does not remain still.”
Are you willing to move forward and not go back? By faith, I am, because I believe the best is yet to come.
(The writer is a radio talk-show host, published author, life coach and mental-health advocate.)