Hope for best with the new Congress

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Some would argue that the Republican party’s new mandate (which is still a ridiculously slim mandate) gives them the power to push through waves of legislation, from wars with every vaguely threatening country to a final and total ban on abortion.

Depending on what side of the political spectrum you stand on, this is either a wonderful or an atrocious thing.

However, it is not entirely true.

The Republicans only have a two-seat advantage in the Senate now. The Democrats only had a one-seat advantage for the last year-and-a-half.

While the House is now rather decisively Republican, the Senate will remain quagmired in the bog of partisan politics unless both parties reach across the bog to pull closer together.

The Democrats may be in the minority party in the Senate now but it takes exactly two Republicans breaking with party lines to create Democrat wins on most bills.

There are still enough moderate Republican Senators to ensure that some of this will be happening.

By and large, this country will remain the same as it always has. Sweeping legislative reforms do not come out of a Senate that is bogged down.

Some claim that the Republican victories give Bush a decisive mandate on the war in Iraq.

However, Bush already had this from the Congress, which voted rather overwhelmingly to support Bush in his proposed battle.

And then the United Nations backed him even more overwhelmingly.

Regardless of what you think of the President’s war, the status of the Congress would have made little difference in starting or stopping it.

The people of America should not seize this opportunity to push for many laws (from either side) that would further polarize political opinion.

Neither should they unnecessarily worry that a Republican majority will create some sort of fascist police-state.

America has survived far worse than an electorate hopelessly divided by two parties whose messages roughly dovetail.

It will get through and survive this too.

And it will prosper.

In the meantime, hope and pray for the best from our Congressmen.

They have a hard job to do and a hostile environment in which to do it.

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