WASHINGTON, November 8, 2012 — After every election it’s human nature to take a moment to exhale, to reflect, to define takeaways and to never want to see another political ad as long as we live.
Yet, after this election cycle we don’t have the luxury. The Dow dropped 313 points yesterday after the election. Not because of a backlash for President Obama. No, it’s because when we woke up yesterday the biggest problem in America was no longer Big Bird, the handling of the tragedy in Benghazi or Bain Capital. It became the Fiscal Cliff.
The Fiscal Cliff is not a nickname for a smart-spending mailman on Cheers. It is the conundrum that the U.S. government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect.
Laws set to change are the end of last year’s temporary payroll tax cuts (resulting in a 2% tax increase for workers), the end of certain tax breaks for businesses, shifts in the alternative minimum tax, the end of the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2%, and the beginning of taxes related to President Obama’s health care law.
Not only would taxes increase but “deep, automatic cuts” would be applied to over 1,000 government programs - including Medicare and the defense budget, according to Barron’s.
In other words, all American people would be taxed more and key programs would not receive proper funding. It’s a scenario that neither Democrats or Republicans want. It’s a byproduct of four years of gridlock between the President and Congress. It’s a potentially catastrophic scneario for the American economy - which is just beginning to recover.
The American people want change. Those waiting for change, for us to move forward waited in lines as long as four hours in some states. Now is not the time to point fingers at Sen. McConnell, Sen. Reid, President Obama or House Speaker Boehner - or for them to point fingers at one another. We will have to trust that they have learned from the last four years and will seek to compromise. When challenged with adversity we are capable of coming together. Gov. Christie and President Obama are very recent proof.
There is far more that unites us than divides us as a nation. At our core, most of us our moderate. We want the same things. Even our elected officials want the same things. They just can’t agree about how to get there. We don’t always wear blue or red. Most of us aren’t members of the Green Party or Tea Party. Although, as an aside, I am a huge fan of green tea.
What we learned from this election is that we are becoming more diverse. Latinos, who now account for 10% of the vote, helped Obama win the election. Romney carried 27% of their vote. In 2000, Bush received 44% of their vote.
We learned that we want government to play a smaller role in our lives. Colorado and Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana use. Maryland and Maine voters legalized same-sex marriage. There were eight candidates for Congress, including Akin and Mourdock, that opposed a woman’s right to choose in cases of rape or incest. All eight lost. A ninth, VP nominee Paul Ryan, also lost.
We learned that when people want to have their voice heard they will wait in line for almost four hours. They will speak up for what they want now and where they want this country to go in the future. Lessons from this election are fascinating and will shape the course of future campaigns.
We determine how political parties shape their policy, which candidates run and which are elected. The Republican Party will not run on the same principles it did in this election. They will reach out more to women, latinos and young voters. The same groups the Democratic Party adapted to after massive losses in the 2010 election.
It’s true that we will not be able to determine the outcome of the Fiscal Cliff. That’s up to our elected officials. However, many of those officials are up for re-election in 2014 and the decisions they make today will shape their chances then.
When we vote, we are heard. Don’t be silent until 2014. Too much is at stake. Demand better from our Congress, from our President and they will answer. They have to if they want your vote.
I’m Jeff Barrett and I approve this message.
Jeff Barrett is a recognized leader in public relations, experiential marketing and social media. Co-Founder of Status Creative, 2011 PRNewswire Award Winner for “Best Use of Video In Social Media” and record holder for Most Strikeouts in Tee-Ball.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.