It’s time for Congress to put politics aside

November 16, 2012 

E pluribus Unum are the words that appear on the obverse side of the Seal of the United States of America since being adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782. Translated from Latin it means “Out of many, one.” When adopted, it was meant to signify that out of many colonies or states emerged a single nation. Two hundred and thirty years later, it has come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation — illustrating the concept of a melting pot. America has never been a bigger melting pot than today and is ever evolving as a nation. It wasn't that long ago that black Americans had to sit in the back of a bus. Tuesday night, one was re-elected president. There was a time in this country when women were not allowed to vote, and after Tuesday night's elections we will have 20 serving in the Senate and at least 81 in the House of Representatives. We have progressed far in our236 years as a nation. Progress has not been easy, it rarely is. But we have survived, persevered and prospered. The reason for this progress has been our ability as a nation to put our differences aside, have an adult conversation on the issue at hand, hear both sides of the argument, find common ground, and ultimately do what is right. Whether it’s through a local school board, state legislatures or our elected officials in Washington, D.C., we have found a way to work together. Recently, we have witnessed the erosion of this concept. We no longer hold our elected officials accountable for their actions but instead buy into their tired, old and often asinine excuses. We spend more time blaming each other than we do finding solutions to our problems. We have sat idle while a group of millionaires and lawyers rigged the system in their favor, at our expense, and done nothing to correct it. John F. Kennedy once said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” This holds true today more now than ever. What this nation needs now is not politics but leadership. It was heartwarming to see President Obama and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey put politics aside to do what was right for Hurricane Sandy’s victims. I saw a man reach out to a political adversary and offer assistance. I then saw a very humbled man put politics and party aside and accept that help because it was the right thing to do. I saw two men doing the job they were elected to do, lead. It was a shining moment for our country in a tough time. Congress should follow this example, put politics and party aside and do what is right. Do what we elected them to do, lead. We have very serious and real problems facing us that need to be addressed and whether or not Congress heeds President Kennedy’s warning will be seen soon enough. The real question though is, will we? Fred Rumsey is the political committee chairman for the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council.

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