With the 2010 elections behind us, I’m hopeful that government can get back to the business of dealing with the economy, terrorism, and our more pressing issues.

In the immediate days ahead, those who were voted into office will continue to ride the “high” of winning the election, and their supporters will keep the spirit alive (just look at Twitter and Facebook). We’ll hear a lot about “reaching across the aisle” and a willingness to work together: words that should be acted upon.

Each election year I try to put my doubts aside and hope that these are more than words, and it just keeps getting more difficult to push the cynicism down. Yes, the People spoke and said that they once again wanted change: I don’t believe it means they necessarily want Republicans or Democrats– it means they saw things weren’t working the way they wanted, so they chose something different.

In my blog posting of January 20 2009 (Inauguration Day), I warned against Rock Star Politics: the whole business of looking starry-eyed at the people who are going to make things sunshiney-wonderful for us because the previous group of people ruined absolutely everything beyond all-getout. Well, after the 2008 inauguration reality set in and before long we were back to business-as-usual, with each group pushing its agenda and running down the other’s, complete with personal attacks. By 2010 it seems for many people the change of 2008 didn’t happen fast enough, so at mid-term we’re mixing it up again.

I don’t have a problem with mixing it up– that’s what a functional democratic system is all about. My point is that we as the voting public have to stop looking at our politicians as The Solution, regardless of party affiliations.

And contrary to what many would have you think, this was not a one-issue election: it wasn’t just about jobs or same-sex marriage or health care or whether or not we supported the Chilean miners. These were certainly influencers, but it came down to an aggregation of all these issues. I voted based on my opinions about the issues.

Let’s also not start throwing the word “mandate” around, either: as I write this, Pat Quinn is ahead of Bill Brady in the governor’s race by 8000 votes– a fraction of a percentage point, and the other races are almost equally close. When all the counts are in, there won’t be any landslides for Illinois governor, senator, or in my Congressional district.

In Illinois, voter turnout for the 2010 election is expected to come in at around 50%. In the 2006 midterm election it was about 40% (source: United States Election Project). What surprises me about this is the fact that in 2009 we had the governor– the highest-ranking elected official in the state– removed in a publicly embarrassing spectacle, and yet only half the registered voters in the state stepped in to cast their votes for the people who will govern us going forward. I’ll leave it to the analysts to explain why people stayed at home (although many will say that 50% was a “good turnout”).

While some of the races didn’t go the way I’d hoped, I intend on sticking with the issues that are important to me, and I hope the people representing me keep their minds open.

Here’s wishing the best of luck to the people who won their races, and for them I’ll reprint the quote from conservative columnist Cal Thomas’ open letter to President Obama on his inauguration day, because it applies to all the 2010 winners: “You campaigned on change and won the election. That was the easy part. Every new administration comes to town thinking it will be better than the one before it, more honest, more ethical, more competent. But people and events have a way of frustrating the loftiest goals. All of your good intentions notwithstanding, no one person can change a city built on a swamp, a city that has taken on many of a swamp’s characteristics.”

And here’s wishing all of us the cool heads we should possess.

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