Can We Talk?

Nothing like an election to get my neurotic juices flowing again.

I’ve been out of comission for awhile. Keeping up with a blog — doing it right — is tough work. But I didn’t think I could let this Republican House takeover go by today without commenting.

I’ll admit it’s hard, personally, to see how far we’ve come in two years. Watching returns tonight on CNN, I was reminded of watching returns two years ago — literally jumping up and hugging my wife when Ohio was called for Obama, and thus the presidency.

There is no shortage of pundits out there offering an explanation on why things have gone so awry for the Obama administration. GOP obstructionism only goes so far as an explanation. The influx of “secret” money is disturbing, but — as David Brooks argued in a recent column — ultimately not consequential. There is real disillusionment out there — much of it felt by the same people who voted for Obama two years ago; some of those, my friends.

I like much of what Obama has done — from health care to restarting the peace process in Israel to the auto industry bailout; from pro-consumer regulatory reform of the banks to a stimulus package¬†which, by all nonpartisan estimates I’ve seen, created or saved thousands of jobs. I even like his cerebral approach, though I see why others wouldn’t.

What’s more, Obama said he would do all of these things, during his election campaign. When in history have we seen a candidate so roundly punished for following through on campaign promises?

I’m not sure I could say, with any real authority, why this wave election happened. What I’m wondering tonight is this: can we, on opposite sides of the spectrum, talk to each other, instead of screaming at each other? Can we try to understand each other, and find common ground?

I don’t have any real hope that those in Congress, or on CNN or Fox, will suddenly stop the shouting. I’m talking about the rest of us — friends, neighbors, family members. Me and my Uncle Randy.

I’m certainly guilty of shouting myself at times. I wonder: could this blog be re-energized around political conversations about issues that we disagree on?

Could any blog?

Stay tuned.

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