Election night was a family affair. Our 18-year-old grandson, first time voter, joined my husband and me to watch the returns.
Politics was not a subject that had been on the tip of his age group's tongue. However, the last 24 hours before the polls closed, the usual social media chatter from fellow 18-year-olds changed to politics. During election night media's coverage of returns, tweets and emails were flowing. Some were caustic and humorous.
One from Kyle Larson, a college freshman from Centennial, was so insightful our grandson shared it with us. With Larson's permission, I am relaying what came out of the mouth of this first-time voter.
"Alright, now that we have our president, our senate, our house, we can finally settle down, and sure, maybe some of us may mourn for a week or two at Mitt Romney's loss, but here's a couple things we have to learn.
"1. The country will not die. The president does not have the power to ruin a country. That takes the president, the house, the senate, and the Supreme Court to completely ruin a country. So everyone is saying 'Let's move to country xyz.' You don't need to. Everyone in America will still live. Obama's not going to kill Americans.
"2. We are America, not the Land of Republicans, not the Land of Democrats, but the land of America! We are a United States, and as such, we have to be able to set aside our differences, and work together to solve our problems. Sure, not every problem is going to be solved the ideal way you wanted, and sure, maybe you don't agree with everything the president agrees with, but America's voice will be heard. We are a democracy. So if you lost, I'm sorry. But your voice still matters, and let it be heard!
"And so, the election is over, and we must stand together as Americans, roll up our sleeves, and get some work done...."
We are beginning to realize that "not every problem is going to be solved the ideal way you wanted." There is going to have to be some give and some take because the consequences of the so-called fiscal cliff will be dire. In the budget debates this summer, compromise was a no-no. Temporary agreement was reached only by setting up a "sequester," an automatic trigger that would go into effect that would be so horrific to priorities of both sides of the aisle, a compromise would be forced. The Pentagon budget would be slashed, taxes would automatically rise on everyone, and social programs would be reduced to rubble. Most economists predict that the "sequester" was so austere, the country would lapse into recession and unemployment would soar.
The thought was that after the November elections, compromise would be easier and voters would have expressed the direction the country preferred.
Post-election, we still have a nearly equally divided country. President Obama won the popular vote by only 2.5 percent. Congress has a Democratic-controlled Senate and a GOP-dominated House.
The Associated Press exit polls confirmed on most issues there was a spread of a couple of percentage points. One was different. About 60 percent wanted "high-income earners to pay more in taxes in order to reduce the deficit." Whether it is done by removing deductions, tax-rate increases, or program budget cutting, real compromise should contain a combination of all so long as the math works to cut the deficit.
We have kicked the tough-decision can down the road long enough, and it is time those in Washington "roll up their sleeves." Delay and political demagogy should not be tolerated. Enough, already. Grown-ups ... it is time to heed the words of 18-year-old Kyle Larson.