The American voters made a strong and powerful statement with last Tuesday’s election results. The electorate swept out scores of Democrats from the House of Representatives and put a serious scare into the Democrats in the Senate.
One can put a number of differing spins on the results but Republican victors should proceed with caution. An argument can be made that, in 2008, the voters were not so much supporting the Democrats as they were firing the Republicans.
The same argument can be made about this election — that the voters are not so much enamored with Republicans but rather fired the Democrats.
Republicans are already talking about their “mandate,” much as the Dems did in 2008. The Democrats discovered that the mandate they thought they had was not a mandate at all.
The people wanted “change” in 2008, but not the type of “change” they got. The nation has soundly rejected the policies and partisan politics of the past two years. If the Republicans make the same mistake, they will likely be fired in 2012.
The winners in this election include the Tea Party candidates who come to Washington untainted by the stench of both Republican and Democratic professional politicians. They will need to be careful not to become corrupted by the culture of power.
Other winners include average citizens — particularly citizens who are weary with large and intrusive government — who mobilized and became engaged in the political process. Once again, the American public demonstrated that, as long as the Constitution remains, they have the final word.
Those who have been damaged include the radical leftists, out-of-touch politicians, and the President himself. The Democrats, however, have no one to blame but themselves. They had the Oval Office, the Senate, and the House of Representatives for two years. Anything they wanted to pass, they could — and did. They did not need a single Republican vote so no force could stand against them.
The arrogance of passing a 2,700-page healthcare bill that no one seemed to even read symbolized the problems of the Democrats. Other bills, unpopular with the citizenry, were jammed down their throats and the response was that the American people exercised their collective veto and fired many of those in power.
So, where from here? The country is still in an economic mess. The country is still at war. Illegal immigration remains a serious problem. The unemployment rate is still high. Prices are beginning to rise on consumer goods.
Now that the Republicans, including the Tea Party candidates, have a prominent seat at the table, they will be expected to help solve the problems. It will not be good enough to simply oppose — they have to produce.
The President also has a choice. He can remain a left-leaning ideologue and be fired in 2012 or he can work with the new situation in Congress and hear the loud message of the American people who hired him.
Perhaps, like President Clinton, he will earn a second term — but it will have to be earned. The voters have found their voice and no longer have any hesitation in saying, “You’re fired!”
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. (www.ctkcec,org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]