So, it’s over.
Well, the election is, anyway.
Now, the hard part starts.
The people have spoken and elected someone who – let’s face it – was laughed off a few months ago. No one’s laughing now. It's time to get serious.
We have problems, in the country and right here in River City. So take note, you who were just elected, nationally and locally. We’re impatient. We want results. And we’re watching.
Our problems are tough. But the good news is they are solvable.
The bad news? The way our representatives have conducted themselves in Washington in recent years has not worked. We’ve had enough of gridlock, government shutdowns, fiscal cliffs and partisanship.
We, the people, deserve better than that.
Trump, in his speech early Wednesday morning, spoke of unifying the country. Honestly, it was strange to hear that after he spent months dividing up the country into Muslims, Hispanics, immigrants and others.
But OK, now you’re talking, Mr. Trump.
To govern this country will take an effort at unity. We’re in a prolonged war on terror. The drug problem is killing people here by the thousands. Our roads are falling apart and we have a big interstate bridge that needs to be replaced. Racial distrust is on the rise. Tension among the police and their communities is high.
Like we said, we have problems.
But let’s look on the bright side. We just showed how we transition power in this country. Not with rigged elections, but with the one-person, one-vote tradition that is the hallmark of our democracy.
So we'll hold those we just elected accountable for what we elected them for – solving problems.
We know they can do that, they just need to remember how.
It takes leadership, smarts, persistence, and, yes, compromise.
It happens that we elected all incumbents to Congress in the tri-state. All Republicans. Memo to them: It is time for leadership, not party politics as usual.
Some of you tried to distance yourself from Trump, saying you would support “your party’s nominee.” In the grind of an election campaign, that may have been understandable politically as Trump's demeanor and some of his proposals were unpalatable. But with the election now over, and the tough work about to begin, we need better leadership than that.
Republican leaders like Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rob Portman, both of whom distanced themselves from Trump, need to lead and bridge gaps on issues such as infrastructure, immigration and the economy, where they could find common ground with Democrats.
In a weird way, Trump’s election could actually bring some Democrats and Republicans together, either in opposition to some things he wants to do or to push for what our communities need. This might be crazy talk, but it's time to forget about labels and ideologies. Democrats and Republicans will need to find their way to the middle of the road in order for Washington to work again.
Thank goodness this campaign is over.
Now it’s time to govern. And that’s the hard part.