Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Slow and Steady Wins The Race

I have never been more proud to be an American. So many citizens stepped up and voted that we all have reason to be hopeful. The point is; they stepped up. They cast their vote, and they exercised their right to have a voice. If you didn't vote or didn't care enough to register to vote, I hope you change your mind over the next four years and get to your town or city clerk's office and register. So many people died in this country to give us all the right to vote. So many in the world still do not have that same right to speak out. They cannot have a discussion or an argument about how to make changes; to share ideas. Our shores continue to be flooded by immigrants seeking those rights: to free speech and to free expression, among others. I believe in those rights.

As citizens of the United States, we are blessed. But many of us take those blessings for granted. In his victory speech last night, President Obama said, " It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try." If you are willing to try. Trying means doing the work, not just talking the talk. Actions always speak louder than words.

The President's speech was filled with inspiring words. Those who were inspired, and those who were not, must hold him and the rest of our government responsible for taking action. For too long our governmental leaders have remained gridlocked by talk. We need more action. We need cooperation and compromise. We need those leaders to represent US, not just continue to secure their jobs. Don't forget that our leaders do not just reside in Washington, D.C., they also reside in your city or town. Grassroots government is where it all begins. A lot happens in your city or town hall. If you are a property tax payer, you know what happens full well if you pay attention. At the local level, the squeaky wheel gets greased. At the federal level, those wheels are just larger. But, it's the wheels that make change happen, or make things stay the same. It's just a matter of who has the power and the louder squeak.

 Mr. Romney gave a gracious concession speech. I hope he will meet with the President and provide valuable advice on how to balance the road forward to a more prosperous America for us all. Our country requires balance, but maintaining balance is where the work lies. Massachusetts just elected its first woman senator. History continues to be made in this country, but there really is no free ride. Nothing free is truly free. There is a price to be paid for everything. It's just a matter of recognizing what that price is, and deciding if we are willing to pay it.

Rhode Island voters decided to go deeper into debt last night by passing a number of large bond issues. This state is living on the edge of financial collapse, and has the highest unemployment rate in the country. We heard time and time again in this election about getting our country out of debt; that we are drowning in debt. Yet, RI voters chose to go deeper down that hole. I don't understand that. I voted against all the bond issues because I believe the state's economy must be fixed before its debt is allowed to grow. As an individual, I got in trouble with debt three times in my life. In all three events, I was just able to skirt bankruptcy and find my way back to the "black". What will it take for our state and our country to take responsibility for reversing its financial direction deeper into the "red"?

Just like losing weight on Weight Watchers: big gains cannot be made over night. Slow and steady wins the race. I believe this country will move "forward". I do have "hope". Let's try to sustain some optimism and stop the fighting. Fighting wastes precious energy that is needed to fix what needs fixing.