I saw a sign on Farm Road 51 south of Decatur as I was driving in to work after the election.
It said, “Nation in sad shape.” It took me back.During the eight years Bill Clinton spent as president of these United States, a guy in my community attached an upside-down U.S. flag to his garage door and displayed it every day – even in defiance of veterans’ groups, who said the flag should only be flown that way as a sign of the most deep distress.
He said it was justified, given Clinton’s conduct in office.
He lacked, perhaps, a little historical perspective. This country has faced a Civil War, the Depression and two World Wars, and even during those times, the sun has still come up every morning. People have still eaten and drank, worked and played, done good and done evil, worshipped and profaned, slept and risen.
The occupant of the White House, although portrayed as supremely important in the days leading up to an election, has little impact on day-to-day life out here in America. To be honest, we give him way too much credit when things go well and way too much blame when they don’t.
One time I heard a preacher say the most important address in America isn’t 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. – it’s your address. What you do in your house will have infinitely more impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones than anything Barack Obama or any of his 43 predecessors ever did in the White House.
Like most of Wise County and Texas, I didn’t vote for Mr. Obama. But now he’s my president, and as I did the past four years, I wish him well.
Both the president and Congress – I have not been happy with either in recent years – need to put partisanship aside and practice some statesmanship, stop “punting” on the tough decisions we hired them to make. Get all the information you can, roll up your sleeves, burn a little midnight oil and hammer out the details. Then pass something.
Compromise, for crying out loud. Give a little to get a little.
Stop drawing lines in the sand and refusing to budge(t). Find the common ground.
Like most of you, I do not think it’s government’s responsibility to make my life wonderful. I want to be free to shape my life the way I imagine it, and I want government to stay out of my way to the greatest extent possible.
If I’m a business owner, I need taxes and regulations to be reasonable. I do not need endless government programs trying to encourage me to hire people – I’ll hire them when I need them, and I’ll need them when my business grows. If government would take care of its business and stop trying to take care of mine, I think growth would come, and I believe my business would do just fine.
I think many of the policies of the past four years are a result of Mr. Obama’s lack of experience in private business.
Mr. Romney’s business experience was a big plus for me, but it came with a big red flag, too. He’s a Wall Street guy. His five biggest donors? Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse. Wall Street loved him – and those are the very folks who got our economy into the mess it’s still in today.
I know they’re smart, but I don’t trust them to do what’s best for me. Their nature is to do what’s best for them, and the more complex and convoluted it is, the better they like it. That way nobody can understand it but them.
But overall, I’m optimistic about the next four years.
I think the two sides will finally work together. Nobody wants to see us go off this “fiscal cliff” – even in separate barrels.
I think President Obama has come to the middle, and the Republicans must meet him there. Based on his campaign rhetoric, I think he does understand the need to get off the backs of small businesses and turn our economy loose to grow again. I think he understands that if the economy doesn’t grow, it doesn’t matter how much they raise taxes or even cut the budget – the deficit will never go away.
I honestly believe that on both sides, voters have elected people who care deeply about this country, who love it and want the best for it.
This is your moment, people. Rise to it. Lead. Do your best and sleep soundly at night.
That’s what I plan to do.
My flag still flies right-side-up. I see a nation sober, but not sad – and ready for better times.