Editorial: Now, about those promises…

Is it safe to come out yet? At the moment this editorial is being written, the Election Day results are still being hammered out. By the time this is read by our readers, the confetti will have already been swept up at all the party headquarters.

That’s the interesting perspective of a weekly newspaper. Due to press room constraints, we spent our time scrambling to get the election results onto the front page before we went to press on Tuesday night. Visit us online at www.SouthingtonObserver.com for more Election Day coverage and photographs. Next week, we’ll look behind the numbers and try to digest what happened and where we are going in the years ahead.

But when this is read, the state elections are finally over with—at least for another two years. We have a new governor. Say goodbye to the bogeyman of Dannel Malloy. We probably are correct in saying that the General Assembly has a new look. And the voters who put the winners into office expect promises made to be promises kept.

The smaller promises will probably be easy and quickly kept. The broader promises likely will be difficult–and even impossible to keep. That’s the problem with politics, especially in a small state like Connecticut. Many of the problems touched upon in the election—an improved economy, lower taxes, more gun control, less hate—often require players beyond the General Assembly to get in line and cooperate.

An improved economy is  partially dependent on a business community beyond Connecticut’s borders, and an improved economy depends on global actions, global markets, and other states. Lower state taxes require unions to make concessions along with a public acceptance that this might result in fewer services or even lost jobs. More gun control requires criminals to suddenly become law abiding citizens. Less hate depends on a change in human nature.

It might be too much to ask this legislature to fix all of these issues in the next two years, but we can expect progress.

Legislators and the governor may enter office with the best intentions, but the world often refuses to cooperate. Remember, no elected official is operating without opposition. And no elected official was supported by 100 percent of the public—so there will be lack of cooperation and disagreement at every turn.

There will be change. There will be progress. But, there will also be regression. Some problems will appear to be ignored, while others get way too much attention.

We could urge the public to be vigilant. We could urge the public to light a fire under the collective rear-ends of our politicians to follow through. Only then, we could say, is change possible. But we’re going to be cynical, pragmatic, and realistic. Not every desire of the voters on the winning side will be fulfilled. And we should accept frustration as an inevitable byproduct of democracy and compromise.

That brings us to our biggest challenge to the elected officials. Your power is mandated by the people, so represent us, not your parties. Avoid tyranny and try to compromise.

We feel that all elected officials have a right to make decisions—as long as those decisions are within the authority granted to them by the state’s constitution. Whatever party is in control, we aks them to fight to make sure that everybody—even the minority party—is allowed to participate in the discussion. Finally, please listen to everyone’s petitions, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, rich or poor, no matter what ethicity, race, or national origin.

Please protect our democracy. We are trusting you.

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