The 112th Congress is about to get started. As always, it is accompanied with hope and aspiration that the right issues will be handled in an effective way. What is important this year? Is it the same thing as last year? Or the year before?
This year will be different. The Republicans will be in charge of the House of Representatives. Already, the Democrats are asking the new speaker of the house, John Boehner, where are the jobs? Yes, job creation is probably the biggest issue facing the country today. And yes, we need results now. But, what were the Democrats doing for the past two years? Weren't they swept into office with an assignment and an agenda to get America out of the recession? Even though the recession has technically ended a year and a half ago, most consumer behavior reflects that of still being in the recession. So, whatever happened to hope? What happened to the change that we wanted to believe it? The time came for change again.
The attempted assassination on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords represents a sad day in America. Lives were destroyed and America was changed. As a result, we will now be rethinking the way that we approach and have access to our elected officials. What made America great was the access that we had to our lawmakers in the approachability that they made available to us. They are one of us, they are representative of the people.
What was equally shocking is the reaction that people are giving from this. People were shocked, saddened, and disgusted at the attempted assassination of the Congresswoman and the assassinations of six others. But what was not expected was the sharp divisive reaction that the mainstream media was attaching to this.
Recently there was a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which discussed new teaching methods. In the coming years, it was reported that teaching methods and learning methods for longer include a pencil and paper. What hath God wrought?
While it almost always seems like a good idea to have technology make our lives easier, it comes with a price. The price is losing the way that we have always done things. Some of us can remember back when we were kids, when we wanted to change the channel on the TV, we had to get up and walk across the room. Nowadays, you have to get up and walk across the room to find the remote control. Certainly, nobody misses that.
From the early days of the country, Congress has engaged in passing symbolic measures. Such measures have declared holidays, recognized accomplished citizens, and passed other measures which at the time may have seemed important but have actually had no impact on day-to-day life for the long-term.
Last week's expected vote on the repeal of the health care bill provided no surprises. It was regarded as a symbolic vote that the Republicans made to fulfill campaign promises and is not expected to make it to the Senate floor. So why did they do it?
We have seen the state of the union and apparently were not spending enough money to sustain it.
In his address to Congress, President Obama set to sound optimistic. Well, of course we want to be optimistic and upbeat about the direction of our country. Coming out of a great recession, we are still at a paradigm that we are not confident about the economic status of the country. Unemployment is still too high, housing prices are still depressed, and we still do not feel confident about expanding small businesses and taking on large debt. In short, we are still in the recession mindset.