Spokane Journal of Business

The Journal’s View: Unity, collaboration should be post-election focus

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With the divisive election season behind us, now is a time to come together, to heal, and to start the difficult, but entirely admirable, task of finding some common ground.

We say this while going to press on Election Day, without knowing the results. When you read this, we may have a clear winner or may be counting ballots still in the search of a definitive answer as to who will lead the nation for the next four years.

Regardless, our eyes are on the horizon, looking toward a challenging future that will require unity. In the next four years, we’ll need to overcome a pandemic and its related recession, address a ballooning deficit, and find a way to add civil discourse to political discussions once again.

If calls for unity sound too touchy-feely, here’s a hard truth: Regardless of whom you voted for, roughly half of your fellow Americans disagree with you. Many of those on the other side of the political fence see the nation and the direction it needs to head much differently.

Those in the other half? They aren’t all greedy. They aren’t all clueless. Or racist. Or naïve. Or stupid. Or in some sort of intellectual bubble. They’re Americans who, for the most part, care about their country and want to see it thrive, just like you.

Coming together will require us to step outside of our silos and acknowledge simple truths. The left doesn’t have the market cornered on compassion, and the right doesn’t own exclusive rights to patriotism.

In Spokane, we’re ideally suited to lead by example. As one columnist recently put it, we’re a light-blue city and a deep-red county. We’ve seen county and city leaders from divergent political backgrounds come together around common goals of creating jobs and increasing tax revenues through development.

The best example of this has been on the West Plains, where the city and county came together to create a public development authority that has been instrumental in some of the biggest developments the Spokane region has ever experienced. Seeing left-leaning former City Council President Ben Stuckart and right-leaning County Commissioner Al French talk about the merits of such effort in the same room needs to be a trend on all levels of government, rather than an exception.

Of course, the business community can, and should, play the role of convener in such conversations by championing causes that lead to prosperity for many.

What efforts could be a catalyst for collaboration and unity at the national level? It could involve addressing infrastructure. Imagine if Trump eased off the Mexican wall workarounds and focused on the nation’s road and bridges. Or if Biden did the same thing instead of focusing on a Green New Deal, under whatever name he wants to use.

Addressing the federal spending could be another bipartisan effort. Yes, some of that spending was necessary at the onset of the pandemic, but at some point, politicians have to stop spending more as if they can just print more, even if that has been strategy at times.

We have an opportunity to come together now and should endeavor to do so, regardless of which candidate has prevailed.

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