After the election on Nov. 2, my state of Indiana turned back red, as it usually has been. I was shocked Indiana turned blue in 2008. This state has always been conservative, and the city I live in, Fort Wayne, is just another manic red city.
I face three concerns after the election results on Tuesday, and they lie in the areas of local, state and national issues:
Locally, Marlin Stutzman, a Republican relatively unknown in the Fort Wayne area, won by a significant margin in the 3rd House District. He won following the disgraced resignation of Mark Sounder, who had stepped down after an affair with a staffer was uncovered and after a primary that had cost local taxpayers a lot of money. Tom Hayhurst, a Democrat, is a longtime area resident, doctor and city councilman; he has a high profile in this area and knows the concerns and needs of this area. Someone like me, who has faced significant financial reversals and health issues, wants a representative who can understand this reality.
My concern? I think we are sending people to Washington who do not have the interests of the working people in mind and have been placed in these positions because of significant financial backing.
Statewide, Dan Coats, a Republican, won the U.S. Senate race over Brad Ellsworth, a Democrat. That was no big surprise. Coats has been around the Indiana political scene for decades and probably would not have beaten outgoing Evan Bayh. But who will ever know? Coats has spent a good amount of the past in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist -- which normally turns out to be the job of choice for many out of office elected officials.
My concern? I think big money and big business is sending the wrong people to Washington D.C. Again, I was not surprised to see this happen in Indiana; it is a Rust Belt state and residents here are hurting and are hoping that we can return to the good old days of the industrial revolution. That is not going to happen, especially, here in northern Indiana, where Elkhart was one of hardest hit of all the U.S. cities during the recession.
Unlike many of my progressive peers, I do not think all of the Tea Party members are a bunch of white nuts who wear crazy hats and offer Second Amendment remedies. The election helped dispel my fears that the American citizenry would buy into that type of crazy. The losses of people like Sharon Angle in Nevada, Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and, hopefully, Joe Miller in Alaska has proven that.
Rep. John Boehner, the likely new House Speaker, has already traced a line in the sand: There will be no compromise. This type of stubbornness will not help America move forward; it will help us stagnate. Hopefully, my concerns will be just those fears of a progressive Democrat who is trying to keep an open mind. My question, however, to the new Republican majority is: What are your solutions? I sincerely hope we are not going to spend the next two years in gridlock.