Post-Bulletin of Rochester, Nov. 7
Time to turn the page and work together
Where do we begin? The events of Tuesday — and indeed, early today — provide almost too many compelling storylines.
For starters, we tip our hats to Minnesota voters. You sent a clear message to our legislators, saying, "Do your jobs — and if you don't, we'll elect people who will."
Republicans in the Legislature gambled and lost with their preemptive strike against same-sex marriage and their attempt to impose a new set of restrictions on voting rights. These are historic decisions with national implications, especially regarding same-sex marriage, as Minnesota ended a 30-state winning streak for those who seek to use state constitutions as a firewall against same-sex marriage.
We suspect that the anti-amendment push helped the DFL, which achieved stunning gains in both the Minnesota House and Senate. The shift in power in the Minnesota Legislature can be seen — and we hope will be seen — as a repudiation of the GOP's decision to invest so much time and energy trying to do end-runs around Gov. Mark Dayton, who now will get to work with a DFL majority in both the House and Senate.
We'll take this opportunity to offer a cautionary note to the DFL. Tax increases on the wealthy might sound like a good idea right now, but let's try to keep in mind that good government can be both efficient and effective. If ever there was a time for a "balanced approach" in the effort to improve the state's bottom line, it's when one party appears to be holding all of the cards. ...
President Obama's victory leaves him with many unenviable tasks, the most difficult of which might be to heal a nation that not only is suffering from massive debt and a struggling economy but also bears the gaping wounds from an ideological battle that won't end just because Nov. 6 has come and gone.
Obama's victory means we'll have a chance to find out if the Affordable Care Act will truly help cover more Americans while reining in health care costs. We're going to find out whether, when faced with a "fiscal cliff," Republicans and Democrats can step away from disaster and achieve meaningful spending reforms. And yes, we're going to find out if the Tea Party Republicans in Congress are ready to actually step up and work with the Obama administration, now that they'll never have a chance to campaign against him again.
Our national healing process will take time, and much of it will be out of the average voter's hands, but there is something we can do right now to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
Take down the political yard signs — they serve no purpose now. Be gracious in victory, and don't be bitter in defeat. Remember that those who take oaths of office are vowing to represent all of us, even those who voted for someone else.