Across our country, we awakened this morning to a newly-configured federal government where Republicans control both houses of Congress while a Democrat remains for two more years in the White House. As political analysis of the elections unfolds, one thing seems quite clear: Americans want a government that functions to address the problems our country faces.
The National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD) holds as its guiding vision an America where civility, not political power or economic heft, guides our civic and human interactions. NICD works from a premise that this nation is far greater than the politics that divide us, and we do have the capability to drive solutions to the major challenges facing us today if we work collaboratively and compassionately for the betterment of all citizens.
And so it was heartening to hear House Speaker John Boehner and the soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling for the collaboration and compromise that are essential to moving our nation forward.
As McConnell stated in his victory speech last night, "Just because we have a two-party system doesn't mean we have to be in perpetual conflict."
House Speaker Boehner echoed the sentiment of McConnell's words. Boehner said in a written statement last night, "It is not a time for celebration, instead it is time for government to start implementing solutions to the challenges facing our country."
At the same time, President Obama announced plans to host Republicans at the White House on Friday to talk about issues of mutual interest.
We the people of the United States need to hold all of our leaders' feet to the fire. The challenges facing our nation, both nationally and internationally, are enormous and cannot be solved by either party acting alone.
Civility is only possible as a two-way street with individuals on opposite ends of the spectrum treating each other with respect, listening more than talking and putting the greater good of this nation before power or politics. Today is a day to join forces, to get behind Senator McConnell, Representative Boehner and President Obama and demonstrate to the world that when civility trumps contentiousness and problem-solving is more important than positioning for the next election.