WE THE PEOPLE: Keep an open mind and hang not upon the words out of men’s mouths.

President Reagan compromised with Congress and Democratic legislators in Congress worked with him in order to get things done. It’s a shame that Washington, D.C. has abandoned that spirit of cooperation.

The diverse peoples who constitute the citizenry of our grand republic want the same things: domestic security, financial security and civil liberties. With these things secure, our citizens may pursue happiness without interference. Our leaders need to debate issues, insist on finding common ground and resist being pushed toward mere discord. The haters want to argue and the debaters want to find solutions to problems.

Governor Walker in Wisconsin won a hotly contested recall election and the anti-union elements of the Republican Party are ecstatic at the “defeat of public unions” and the prospect of an “end to the tyranny of public unions over our citizens.”

The members of Wisconsin’s public sector unions under attack by Governor Walker are citizens too, and if they are compensated fairly because of collective bargaining that should make them better workers, better providers for their families and better citizens. There is a reason that unionism developed in the U.S. and this country experienced its greatest economic and civic successes when unions were strong.

This type of personal and emotional description of the events in Wisconsin only encourages continued fighting between the advocates for both sides. There really should only be one side of this debate.

It is a shame that the Wisconsin battle has consumed so much effort and money when there was a willingness on the part of the workers to compromise.

A critic of any excesses created by public sector unions could fairly state it is a good thing if this successful defense to a recall gives greater fiscal control to the governor and curtails any unfair union activities such as featherbedding. However, you can have protection for employees and fairness for the employer along with collective bargaining.

We must seek out information from all sources and make up our own minds about important issues. The American people must carefully resist the pressure to vote according to labels, slogans or habit. We need to focus on issues and make choices.

Soon voters will be asked, over and over, ‘Are you better off now than you were four years ago?’ Although I am not satisfied about where the economy is today, it is beyond argument that we are in a better place than we were in 2008-2009.

Remember the situation created by unregulated financial practices: unemployment at 9.4 percent, GM stock trading at 75 cents a share while it filed for bankruptcy and the Dow Jones Industrial Average below 8800.

Now, GM has emerged from bankruptcy, its stock is trading around $24 a share and it has repaid its bailout loans from the government. There was a legitimate belief that the economy was beyond the control of the government. President Obama guided the stock market back to pre-recession levels, saved vital industries and begun adding jobs to the economy. In the meantime, he shepherded through Congress financial market regulation and health care reform.

We won’t know until it is tested whether or not the Affordable Care Act will dramatically improve the quality of healthcare and make it more affordable until it’s implemented. There are some voters saying they will vote against the president because of the Affordable Care Act.

However, Mitt Romney proposed and implemented a similar plan in Massachusetts when he was governor so there will be health care reform of some sort or another pushed by the White House no matter who occupies it. Remember to stay informed, make up your own mind and be a debater not a hater.

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