Be careful what you ask for Nov. 2

As the upcoming national and local Election Day approaches, an old saying bears repeating: ?Be careful what you ask for, for you may not like what you get.?

Mid-term elections are not kind to the current party in power. According to polling information, Democrats appear to be losing popularity and Republican candidates are gaining popularity.

However, this does not necessarily suggest that voters are falling in love with Republican candidates or everything their platform represents. In fact, neither party gains confidence with the voter.

This sentiment is even evident among a traditionally conservative group of farmers last weekend at the fall meetings of the National Association of Wheat Growers in Minneapolis, Minn.

Public outrage over mounting federal debt and alleged mishandling of taxpayer monies by politicians during the greatest recession since the Great Depression demands that politicians be held accountable for their actions.

From my perspective, this anger is well deserved. However, I am reminded that prior to the previous election cycle, the Republican Party presided over the greatest boondoggle in American financial history and actually helped create the economic conditions in which we now find ourselves.

So, why then should we reward them and put them back in power?

Obviously, the short answer is: There?s no other viable option right now. No other political party has a better idea, either.

And yet, even though taxpayer backlash is limited to what it can accomplish by ?throwing the bums out,? I fear we are merely playing an old game of musical chairs and not really accomplishing real reform.

Tea Party rhetoric notwithstanding, one cannot believe for a moment that my brand of conservatism that is fiscally conservative, yet reflecting a spiritually motivated social compassion similar to that projected by former President George W. Bush early in his first term in office, will be acknowledged and reflected by a candidate that might promise anything to get elected and ignore these values once in office.

The political landscape is littered with examples of politicians that abandoned their campaign promises, post-election. President Ronald Reagan regularly supported family values and spoke about the sanctity of life, yet did not move far beyond the rhetoric.

One can support a call by conservatives to return to fiscal responsibility. One can support a platform that reflects good family values. However, we cannot guarantee these values will continue to be the governing philosophy once the election is over.

In essence, not every candidate is a ?Jerry Moran,? and the responsibility of selecting the Morans of the world that reflect these values lies on the shoulders of the voter.

Two years from now, expect that outrage to be directed once again toward the winners of this election cycle as well, especially if Republican candidates misread their victories as a clear mandate to govern from an extreme, far-right position and create even more problems than they solve.

Expect this anti-incumbency sentiment to return, especially if the economy remains stagnant and deficits continue to soar.

In a democracy, every law abiding citizen has the constitutional right to have a say in the governance of this nation. The power of the people is expressed as they go to the polls and make their wishes known.

However, there?s more to the task of governance than merely pulling a lever or marking a ballot. After the election, elected officials are given the mandate to govern within the constitutional boundaries and to engage with other elected representatives in a public dialogue to fashion new laws.

This dialogue is the most difficult to accomplish, especially in an atmosphere where both sides are obsessed with partisan bickering, rather than working to find common ground.

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