HERE IN THE middle, we are wondering about the health of political leadership in our nation, state and community. By one measure we could look at the nation as being almost perfectly divided. President Obama was re-elected with 51 percent of the popular vote. In Illinois things are decidedly blue, with Democratic super majorities in the state House and Senate and a Democratic governor. Plus, the Democrats still reign over most of the populace in the metro-east.
But these snapshots don't reflect what we believe to be the reality. The vast majority of us are in the middle, a.k.a. independents, undecideds or moderates. We don't think in extremes, yet it seems our politicians believe they must appeal to the extreme wings of both parties to win. The national election results suggest to us that voters are left choosing between the candidates projecting the least excessive views -- a point the Republican National Committee had better note as their base of angry white men diminishes.
It takes a strong opponent to foster competition, thus debate, thus the best solutions. Illinois Republicans have been inept, but Illinois Democrats need challengers to push them to lead us out of our state's fiscal morass.
And we can make that same observation on the local level. Without serious challengers, the local Democrats' main concerns are perpetuating the status quo and protecting their power and fiefdoms. Their failure to lead may be the biggest sin, because local politics have the biggest impact on our quality of life -- to make it better or allow it to stagnate.
We hope the politicians took note of the fact those who spent the most on the election failed to achieve their goals. We in the middle still cannot be bought. You sway us with your ideas, your character and your actions.