Another election is in the books. We should have some bit of respite now from campaign ads, at least for a year before things start heating up for the 2016 general election.

For once, I would like to see positive rather than negative campaign advertising. Tell us what you are going to do for us and what makes you most qualified for whatever office you seek rather than telling us how bad, conniving and downright evil your opponent is. That does not help anyone make up his mind, it just shows voters that you are weak on strategy when you can only tear down your competition.

It was predictable that the Republicans would take control of the Senate. In a way, it is vindication of the party’s strategy to obstruct progress so as to impede the success of an administration that they hate. It’s a sad and sorry fact that such a strategy would even be employed in the first place, let alone succeed in eventually getting the party back into a position of power.

Perhaps it means greater cooperation across the aisle; perhaps it means more of nothing gets done. Whatever the case, voters will be closely watching leading up to the 2016 election and the performance of Congress over that time, no doubt, will have a serious impact on which party wins the White House.

As many people of all political persuasions as I’ve heard say that no one in Washington deserved to be re-elected, it sure did not look like too many people felt that way. In fact, voters re-elected 90 percent of the incumbents. 

How is it that with so many expressing disgust with Congress and its inaction for the last several years – its single-digit approval rating – that we are destined for more of the same in the future? How can so many be so fed up and still we have the same old representation in so many cases?

As an independent – with a small “i” – I do not align with any party but instead listen to all parties’ positions on various issues and then make up my mind based on that and other research to determine the crux of a matter. I do not care which party is in power as long as they both show that they are working together for the good of America. That hasn’t happened for so long, I am beginning to wonder if that isn’t just an unattainable ideal. 

I don’t know about you, but I personally do not hold out much hope for bipartisan cooperation, over the next two years or beyond. If anything, both sides will be more concerned about politicking with an eye on the presidential election in two years than on truly governing for the people. It seems that we are in a perpetual state of greater attention being paid to elections than to the electorate. 

Until that changes, whether through term limits or whatever other means may be available to return to more of a citizen-based representation in Washington, we are doomed to endure politicians who are more concerned about themselves and their parties – and their chances in the next election – than they are about the people they were elected to serve. 

Until that changes, we the people and our country will continue to suffer from the childish game playing, ugly rhetoric and brinksmanship. What our political system has become and the paralysis that it has infected our country with has lowered our esteem in the eyes of the rest of the world. It has made us look less and less like the world leader we have always been. 

That is the bottom line, and that is why the Republicans’ ebullience over their victories and the Democrats’ downplaying of their defeats are irrelevant. Until both sides turn toward the center and truly work together to do the job they were sent there to do, we are destined for more of the same. I see nothing on the horizon that will change that, not even the 2016 election.

Ultimately, it is our problem. We the citizens who cast ballots have the power to change the rules, to change the playing field and stop rewarding obstructionism and boorishness in our politics. We have the power to stop rewarding politicians for a lifetime just because they held office for one term. If they are truly interested in doing their civic duty and serving their country by choosing to run for elected office, they should not need any more incentive than that. Returning our country to its former greatness will require wholesale changes to campaign finance rules and, yes, term limits. 

We need to put an end to the possibility that someone could hold an office for a lifetime … and often become rich doing so. We need drastic changes to our entire political process so that we may once again discover governmental effectiveness. It is our only hope for success as a country, our only hope for a return to greatness. 

Maybe then we will regain the world respect that we previously enjoyed.

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