En español | With the elections now behind us, we congratulate President-elect Donald Trump, all of the members of the new Congress, and state and local officials across the country. Now the real work begins. It’s time to put political partisanship and distrust behind us and come together. It’s time to bring civility and public discourse back to our democracy. It’s time to remember that we can disagree and still find common ground around the big issues that matter so much to the people of this country. It’s time to govern. It’s time to lead.
If this election has taught us anything, it is the realization that not all of us are experiencing the same America. We have to be willing to step into someone else’s shoes in order to have constructive dialogue on some very serious issues facing our country now, and others that are sure to occur in the future.
The late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan said that “What Americans want is very simple. They want an America as good as its promise.” What is the promise of America? Jefferson defined it as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Franklin Roosevelt outlined it in four freedoms: “freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.” Ronald Reagan described it as “a shining city on a hill.”
One of the great things about our democracy is that every four years we have the opportunity to unite and renew our journey toward the promise of America. While campaigns, by their very nature, focus on the things that divide us, to govern effectively we must focus on achieving the shared goals that unite us. The question is, can we unite behind our shared goals and move forward, or will we continue to focus on the issues that divide us?
At AARP, our experience in talking with our members is that they care deeply about important issues facing them and their families. They want our leaders to address them.
As a new administration and new Congress prepare to take office in Washington, and new legislatures and governors prepare to lead their states, AARP is ready to work with them to help find practical solutions to the issues people 50 and over and their families care about and to do our part in creating an America as good as its promise.
Jo Ann Jenkins is CEO of AARP.