The election may be over but the divide remains. Unlike perhaps any time in history, Americans prepare for an inauguration this week just about evenly divided on what they expect in the next four years. Half polled by the Associated Press this week voice optimism for the second Bush administration and about a like number remain doubtful about our future.
This on-going divide is anything but healthy. The fear is that the partisan bickering will slowly erode any potential progress and make for a stalemate in Congress. If you examine history, that's not usually the case.
There is traditionally a honeymoon for a president's new term to reflect the sentiments of the voters in the recent election. But with a razor-thin margin, it appears that the honeymoon may be scuttled before it actually begins.
Iraq continues to lead the list of concerns for Americans. The economy is a close second. And though there should be real concern over the developments in Iraq, it certainly doesn't help matters when you have the Honorable Edward Kennedy on Sunday call Iraq "Bush's Vietnam." But considering the source, take that stupid comment for all it's worth.
I noticed this week that well over half of the Iraqi population is registered to vote in the elections there later this month. Don't look now but if that population votes it would be a higher percentage than voted in our presidential election in many areas. So that translates into progress and promise regardless of the outcome.
Christmas sales were at record levels which must bode well for the economy. The brewing brouhaha over Social Security will play out in the months ahead and at some point should ease the public's concern over the national retirement system.
I'm not a big believer in polls and I take the results of the Associated Press poll with a huge grain of sand. Yet the one number that remains concerning is the level and degree of distrust in government that still exists. Unless and until we restore public confidence in our government, we'll be fighting an uphill battle on the road to progress.
I hope Bush enjoys a fruitful honeymoon and the majority wishes of the public are put into place. And those on the other side of the aisle would be well advised to recognize the mandate given this administration and allow that progress and change to occur.