21 November 2016

Notes from Norm: Elections and Governing Have Consequences

The political ramifications of Election 2016 are not just being heard and felt in Washington, D.C.

In fact, throughout America the electoral success of conservatives was resounding.

In races for Governor the GOP flipped 3 governor’s seat to raise the total number of Republican Governors to 33 – the highest number since 1922.

Across the nation Republicans hold power in more state bodies than ever.

In Minnesota, Republicans not only held onto control of the House, but also took control of the Senate, ensuring that our state’s liberal governor, Mark Dayton, will have a much more difficult time further expanding the size and cost of state government.

While the nation’s increasingly irrelevant one-party media drones on and on that demographic shifts in America spell the doom of conservatism, the nation’s increasingly relevant voters have sent them a loud and powerful message:  We aren’t listening to you – watching you – or reading you!

Voters are listening, watching and reading something more important in their lives.

They are seeing their standard of living increasingly battered by an economy that has yet to experience the kind of growth that will lift their wages and the tides that will get them closer to the American Dream.

They are watching a deconstruction of their personal freedoms and liberties by an ever-growing government that imposes more regulations, taxes, fees and restrictions on their lives.

They are hearing liberal politicians call them “deplorable”, and worse, for caring about the need for comprehensive immigration reform, their 2nd Amendment Rights, respect for human life and religious beliefs.

When the left loses its arguments it loses its cool.  When it doesn’t like what others have to say, it shuts them down.  Fights to keep ideas off of our college campuses.  Takes to the streets to reject and ridicule the votes of millions of their fellow Americans as nothing more than intolerance and ignorance.

Yet, a GOP President, GOP U.S. Senate, GOP U.S House, 33 GOP Governors, 68 GOP legislative chambers and total GOP control of both legislative chambers in 33 states is a resounding rejection of this narrative.

On the contrary, it sends a very strong message that Americans are united in their belief that our nation can be stronger – it can be more secure – it can be more successful – for all Americans – in all parts of America.

I won’t excuse, nor condone, those on the right – or the left – that spew hatred, homophobia, racism, misogyny or any other form of venom and vitriol that attempts to denigrate and demean Americans.

These sentiments dishonor our shared values as Americans.  They disrespect each of us as Americans.

Elections do have consequences.  Yet, those consequences are not a foregone conclusion.

What one says on the campaign battleground does not have to follow them into the respective office they succeed in winning.

The choices our elected officials make upon winning elective office will define the consequential nature of decision of the voters to put them in that office.

Will they embrace humility and respect for the office they now hold, or will they resemble the worst fears of those who stood in their way and against them?

Are they open to understanding that America’s system of democracy requires hard-fought compromises on ideas to achieve a common goal without compromising one’s ideals, principles and values?

The awesome transition of power in America after every election is something so profoundly unique to our nation.

However, I fear we have lost some element of respect for just how much it can help our nation heal after the most bitter of campaigns.

From Paul Ryan to Mitch McDonnell to Donald Trump to thousands of men and women across the country who have been given the enormous power to shape the direction of America the people of this nation are waiting and we are watching.

Will the massive center-right shift in political power result in government that respects the rights and freedoms of its people or will it give short-shrift to the overwhelming voices of the middle-class screaming to be heard?

This has been an historic election.  From bottom to top of every level of government the center-right revolution in American politics and policy has begun.

The opportunity to build equity and equality for every American to achieve a better life for themselves and their family is well within the grasp of this center-right governing coalition.

The objective of restoring trust in government, and our institutions, and to be partners with the American people and to honor their hopes and dreams should be a guiding principle of every person elected to public office this year.

The election is done.  The governing begins.

Succeeding in the first, and failing in the latter, will not move America forward.

Elections have consequences. So, too, does governing.