No more campaign ads.
No more talking about what we ought to do.
Time to actually do something.
After investing perhaps $11 billion and two years in mostly futile posturing, we’ve ended up more or less where we started.
The Republicans control the state Legislature, we’re 50th in per-student spending and rural communities like Payson urgently need help — hopefully in the form of something like, say, a university campus.
President Obama is still, well, president.
The Republicans still control the House.
The Democrats still control the Senate.
No one can do anything that does not employ compromise and creativity.
Our great and earnest prayer is that for the next year, all our elected officials focus on working out a grand compromise to solve as many problems as possible.
If that means increasing tax rates in return for deficit-reducing tax cuts, then make the deal.
If that means fully implementing the Affordable Health Care Act in return for stronger measures to control costs, medical malpractice reform and an expanded ability to sell insurance across state lines, then get it done.
If that means increasing state taxes to save our schools, which remain our one, great hope for the future, then take the bitter medicine.
We beg you — down in Phoenix, way back there in Washington: For one year, focus on the urgent problems we can no longer sidestep. Don’t fight for total victory — make the best deal you can.
Do something to secure the future of Medicare, without impoverishing every other federal program. Do something to curtail the frightening growth of the deficit. Take action to reduce the alarming ranks of the long-term unemployed. Shore up our schools, protect our children, restore our industry, secure our borders, live up to our ideals.
We know you cannot do all of that in a year. We know that deep, legitimate differences remain between patriots on both sides of the aisle. We know that the Republicans in the House would pursue a very different course from Democrats in the Senate if either side had the power to impose their vision — their will.
But neither side has that power: They’ve each proved that beyond any shadow of a doubt in these past two, frustrating years. The problems have festered, and precious time has slipped away, while the nation that tamed the wilderness, crushed Hitler, and safeguarded the world’s liberty for half a century has lapsed into finger pointing and pouting.
So let us each resolve to give this dispiriting election some meaning — some purpose.
Let us promise to make some real, courageous progress in the next year. Let us together find the middle ground, make the compromise, fulfill this sacred public trust. We have no more time to waste and no one to turn to save one another.
Honor our veterans
On Sunday we will gather once more to honor the millions who have served their country, at risk to their lives. We can think of no better way to express our gratitude and honor our deep debt to those who serve than to turn to the words of Abraham Lincoln, delivered over the fresh graves of many of the 51,000 on both sides who died at Gettysburg.
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
“But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”