It's a People Thing

Here's a way all Americans can be winners after the elections, with good results for the rest of the world, too: Everyone gets behind the best ideas of all the candidates. Then everyone becomes a one-person oversight committee to support proper representation and challenge improper representation by elected officials.

The goal is government by the people beyond election day. Thus they do their part in the scenario with which Lincoln modestly launched his first term: "While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years."

Assuming the people's virtue and vigilance continue, what candidate themes might they foster now?

Bill Clinton's central refrain became so robotic it was known as M2E2. But Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment must be preserved and enhanced, and they can be - with a joint effort inside and outside government.

Bob Dole's mantras included "Trust the people" and "It's your money." More economists distrusted than trusted the tax-cut proposal to which the slogans were linked. And taxes to pay for government services don't confiscate "your money" any more than payments for private purchases. But the Dole thrust offered a corrective to Washington doing more and taxing more than necessary. Americans can unite in the care for themselves and their communities that assures less government is required.

On foreign policy both candidates left so many idea gaps that the people's voice can be expected to demand more precision and coherence. The benefit for countries abroad would be obvious - though no more substantial than their benefit from an America kept strong and stable by wise and innovative domestic ideas. We will be going into the pros and cons of specific issues in coming months.

Meanwhile, and always, the committees-of-one have to come together for the social good beyond politics. This is not, in current slang, a guy thing or gal thing or black thing or white thing. It's a people thing. All Americans have the opportunity to forthrightly address the race, class, and gender divisions exposed during the campaign, heal what needs to be healed, and enjoy one another's company more than ever.

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