Election 2010: Filling in the Gaps

11-November-2010Published in: St. Louis American

The pundits are still salivating over last Tuesday's election. What is evident from the results is that a good majority of Americans are not happy with the state of the economy. They want things to change and are holding our politicians responsible.

The U.S. electorate delivered a crashing rebuke to President Obama, just two years removed from a landslide presidential victory. The propulsion of the Republican Party to a nationwide victory has given everyone a lot to talk and think about. It is not like we didn't know what might happen after the polls closed and the numbers were counted. Pre-election surveys told us the GOP would be celebrating late into the night as more voters expressed their unhappiness with the nation's conditions and what the federal government is or is not doing.

According to the Pew Research Center, the country saw a repeat of 2006 with an overwhelming percentage of voters saying the nation was on the "wrong track." So they voted for the party out of power, giving Republican candidates 75 percent of their votes.

Yes, many cited a more negative view of economic conditions as the country continues to pull itself out of its worst recession since the 1930s. But voters also registered their opposition to a more activist federal government. A full 56 percent said government is doing too much and more should be left to businesses and individuals.

To this, St. Louis, I say, "Okay then." Let's do it. Let's fill in the gaps left by business or those that will be exposed if the newest group of legislators starts making cuts to our city, state and federal services.

No, I'm not asking you to take up arms to protect our borders if slashes are made in the defense budget. Neither am I expecting you to pave your own neighborhood's street. But I am asking you to reach out where no one else dares to stretch their hand; I ask that you take ownership of your neighborhood.

If you're a business owner, it is time to reach out to your community with jobs and services you can extend to put someone back to work or ease their struggle. If you are a community activist, it is time to reach out to those who have shut their doors to giving in the past and asking them once more to help their neighbors in need.

And if you are a mom, dad, sister or brother, it is time to reach out to our next and youngest generation. Reach out with yourself as a role model to show them how great our community can be for everyone, no matter who is in office.

I believe in leading by example, and as such I am committed to Beyond Housing's 24:1 initiative specifically focused on strengthening the 24 cities that are in the immediate vicinity of the Normandy School District. This is my small way of filling the gap. What are you going to do?