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Time to smile, America

| November 5, 2010 9:00 PM

Not everybody's happy that Republicans registered one of the most dramatic two-year turnarounds in our nation's history.

We think they should be.

Only the most partisan Americans celebrate when their party controls the White House and both chambers of Congress. As the past two years have reminded us, that's never healthy. A huge segment of the population might not be left voiceless, but it is essentially powerless, and critical checks and balances within our executive and legislative hierarchy are suspended.

Giving both major parties real power empowers the people. Within hours of Tuesday's election, we saw President Obama seeking compromise where none was likely before. His words seemed more respectful; his body language less defensive.

But that's not the only reason we think our nation should be celebrating now. Psychologically, much good can come from this rigorous midterm exercise.

Many millions of Americans found a healthy, effective way to unleash their anger. They did it not by kicking the dog or punching a heavy bag at the gym, but by filling in tiny ovals with a No. 2 pencil. You could almost feel the stifling, muscle-clenching anxiety of a nation lift as election results rolled in Tuesday night and Wednesday. Candidates weren't the only ones sighing deeply with relief when it finally ended; our country blew off hurricane-force steam and now can settle in to getting important things done.

For the past two years divergent philosophies have clashed in a political civil war, their energies expended on pounding one another under the almost unprecedented additional duress of a crippling recession. Now, with our leadership forced to better cooperate and a powerful nation more able to focus on solving problems we all have in common, optimism suddenly abounds. And an optimistic America is just what the world needs right now.

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