Election: Voters speak again to civility and compromise

Americans deserve to take a little solace in the results of the recent election. Voters spoke loud and clear. They wanted candidates to put country before party and they sent that message at the voting booth.

The voters seemed motivated by the things that always motivate: overreach by elected leaders and their inability to compromise to solve problems like crumbling roads.

Republicans in the House of Representatives offered plenty of examples. The GOP made dozens of attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, wrongly believing people favored this repeal while they saw millions more of their friends and family finally get health care coverage that didn’t send them into bankruptcy.

Led by President Donald Trump, many Republicans jumped on the anti-immigrant bandwagon with even Republicans coming from moderate traditions like those in Minnesota saying the borders were “porous” and we needed to “pause” refugee resettlement.

Porous is decidedly an inaccurate term for the U.S.-Mexican border. It suggests an increase in illegal immigration. But border apprehensions of people trying to enter the U.S. at the Mexico border have been dropping for some time.

The number apprehended went from 650,000 in 2008 at the beginning of Obama’s term to 191,000 at the end of his term in 2016, a drop of 71 percent, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.

In 2017, it dropped again to 128,000 or by about 33 percent.

Somehow, Americans seemed to remember their own immigrant roots, including in Minnesota, where after German, Swedish and Irish immigration the state was up to 40 percent foreign born, compared to 8 percent today.

And the tax breaks didn’t seem to hold much weight with voters. A CNN survey on Election Day showed 56 percent of those polled said the country was headed in the wrong direction even as the economy was in solid shape.

That one poll was probably the most telling message of this year’s election. The economy, of course, is always important to people in an election. But there was a sense that civility and welcoming also mattered.

The election was a repudiation of a tribalism led by Trump. We hope his followers, now see the indignity of those messages, including a late campaign charge to send troops to the falsely porous border.

It’s a heart-rending thought in a way — that our friendship and our civility mean more than our pocketbook growing in the context of feigned generosity.

It’s also good to see that when our leaders don’t lead with the core principles of our country as their guide, the people will.

— The Free Press of Mankato