While the immediate fiscal cliff may have been averted, Washington D.C., remains a bubbling cauldron of lobbyists, special interests, ideologues and vested interests more concerned about their parochial interests than the good of the Union. Things are so bad that if one party found a cure for the common cold, the other might well put out a spin that the cure is of no worth.
The election is over. Let the governing begin. Our country has urgent, serious and immediate problems that must be addressed.
While the two of us have very different opinions on how to solve the critical issues facing our country, we believe that together our problems are solvable. We believe no single politician or political party has all of the answers, and that America works best when we roll up our sleeves, blot out the ideology and get down to the business of making life better for the American people.
When serious issues faced America in the past, our politicians have put country above party and practicality ahead of ideology. That's what made us the greatest country in the world.
We beg our representatives and others in Washington to stop the bickering, obstructionism and grandstanding and get serious about tackling the consequential issues of our time. We need to get back to civility, respect, communication, and yes, compromise.
The country longs for the days when a conservative Republican, Ronald Reagan, invited the liberal House Speaker, Tip O'Neill, to the White House for a glass of Scotch, a laugh or two and a serious chat about how they could (and did) work together to solve America's problems.
It may come as a shock to Washington players, but, frankly, most Americans want issues solved, not partisan political victories. Politicians need to stop being pushed around by everyone. They should lead and stop being afraid.
Get to the table. Talk. Get serious about solutions. Be willing to compromise. Stop demonizing the other side. Recognize that more years of stagnation endanger the republic. No one side is going to sweep the board. We must work together. Both sides need to forget the short-term political consequences and negotiate, solve issues and legislate.
We are not out-of-touch idealists. We live in the real, the practical world, where, with good will, respect and honesty, America can solve the huge stumbling blocks that Washington has kicked down the road for so long.
The American people deserve vision, leadership and courage from our elected officials. If our leaders would unite and come back to the people with a serious plan that asked us all to pitch in, America would be better off.
Citizens, families and the businesses they run are not allowed to go over fiscal cliffs, for good reason. It should not be an option for the government either. We live in dangerous times when the greatest threat to America is the president of the United States and the American Congress' inability to lead the people who elected them.
Republicans and Democrats alike need to put their political differences aside and come to the defense of our great nation.
Thomas Wright is chairman of Utah's Republican Party; Jim Dabakis is chairman of Utah's Democratic Party.