Let’s hope, like our stu­dents, Congress can make a fresh start

The Covington News - - OPINION -

Last week, our two chil­dren started back to school. The prep work in­cluded buy­ing new back­packs, books and school sup­plies, along with a few new clothes. Binders were la­beled and or­ga­nized, new text­books were bought and thumbed through, and, for our daugh­ter Mag­gie, the first day’s out­fit was care­fully thought through and laid out the night be­fore. Sched­ules were printed and re­viewed.

They were ready to get back to work.

They were ready for a new year, a fresh start.

As they walked out our door the first morn­ing, my hus­band Jimmy and I re­minded them that first im­pres­sions mat­ter and to make sure they made good ones: to lis­ten, to pay at­ten­tion and to learn.

As the daugh­ter of two teach­ers, my life has re­volved for decades around the aca­demic cal­en­dar. First theirs, then mine, now my chil­dren’s. Fall, for me, is not just when leaves fall and the air is crisp, but also when there is the hint of pos­si­bil­ity and po­ten­tial that a new school year brings. It’s the chance to learn, to change, to grow and to fin­ish the year a bit smarter and more ac­com­plished than when you started.

Oh, how I miss those rel­a­tively easy days, when a teacher’s syl­labus was handed out on the first day, and the grad­ing sys­tem was laid out in black and white.

Real life is not so easy. There are of­ten no clear de­lin­eations be­tween years or even projects. How do peo­ple know if they are mak­ing progress?

For politi­cians, the way to keep track is by win­ning elec­tions, and in off years, look­ing at ap­proval rat­ings.

Ac­cord­ing to a poll con­ducted this month by Gallup, for ev­ery per­son who ap­proves of Congress, nearly six times as many dis­ap­prove.

Just imag­ine if 14 per­cent of your clients ap­proved of your work and 81 per­cent dis­ap­proved — what would that mean for you?

Prob­a­bly a hard look in the mir­ror and a plan of ac­tion to reach out to your clients, to lis­ten, to plan and to ac­com­plish shared ob­jec­tives.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ap­proval rat­ing for Au­gust, ac­cord­ing to Gallup, was down 3 points to 44 per­cent.

“The econ­omy car­ries the great­est weight of nine key is­sues in de­ter­min­ing how Amer­i­cans rate Pres­i­dent Barack Obama over­all,” Gallup noted. “Amer­i­cans who ap­prove of the job Obama is do­ing on the econ­omy are six times more likely to ap­prove of Obama’s over­all per­for­mance than those who dis­ap­prove of Obama’s han­dling of the econ­omy.”

This key find­ing points to a po­ten­tial weak­ness and an op­por­tu­nity for his op­po­nents.

His “ap­proval rat­ing for han­dling the econ­omy is 35 per­cent,” one of the ar­eas in which he is weak­est. Obama scored low­est among the nine is­sues on the fed­eral bud­get deficit (26 per­cent ap­proval).

So, this month, while in re­cess, Congress has an op­por­tu­nity to re­group and get ready for a new year.

Leg­is­la­tors re­turn in Septem­ber, and while they can’t cre­ate a new first im­pres­sion, they can out­line a fresh start, and con­vey an aura of op­ti­mism and pos­si­bil­ity.

The House Repub­li­cans have a great op­por­tu­nity, but they must not over­play their hand. Their fo- cus should be on work­ing for the Amer­i­can peo­ple, mak­ing progress, tak­ing ac­tion.

While the hot top­ics will be the bud­get, debt ceil­ing and im­mi­gra­tion, the over­all fo­cus should be on how to make Wash­ing­ton work for ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans. The fo­cus has to be tied back to a vi­sion — a vi­sion of a brighter fu­ture, one in which all Amer­i­cans can par­tic­i­pate.

It’s not enough to op­pose the pres­i­dent and his agenda. House Repub­li­cans should cheer­fully and re­lent­lessly pro­mote a pos­i­tive vi­sion for the fu­ture, out­lin­ing how the House Repub­li­cans can help get us there.

The vi­sion needs to be grand enough to in­cor­po­rate smaller leg­isla­tive con­flicts into a larger un­der­stand­ing of where we can go — when we work to­gether.

In the end, the Amer­i­can peo­ple want a govern­ment that works for them, that gets things done and projects an aura of pos­si­bil­ity and po­ten­tial. Let’s hope it passes the test.

To find out more about Jackie Gin­grich Cush­man, and read fea­tures by other Cre­ators Syn­di­cate writ­ers and car­toon­ists, visit www.cre­ators.com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.