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My gym is running a promotion inviting members to "open a can of whupass" on their exercise routines. I guess the idea is that this whupass stuff will make us more fit. Being north of 65, I'm staying with a routine that keeps my creaking joints from getting creakier still.

Which brings me to the recent elections. It appears that the voters have opened some cans of whupass, too. Incumbents were sent packing, new political movements showed muscle, pointed messages were sent. In response, both newly-elected officials and incumbents are working hard to appear they really got it. We are being reassured: government will get smaller, taxes won't go up, spending will be cut.

I'm skeptical anything will change. Inertia will set in because the system tends to work that way. No burst of restiveness, tea partying or government fiscal commission will move it. We're very likely in for more business-as-usual, so if you want changes, know that the work is just getting started.

Our politicians will only change when they are convinced a social tsunami is rising, an upwelling of sentiment so strong it can't be ignored. They must believe that we want them to act, not posture, to govern, not endlessly squabble, to make benefit cuts and increase taxes, not equivocate. In short, make the system work.

The time for whupass is over, and -- here's the hard part -- we, too, have to change. First, we need to do our homework: develop reasoned points of view and sharpen our own perspectives. Then, identify and actively support serious-minded people in government with good ideas, no matter what their party or geography. Good people with good ideas will get things done and done well.


With a Perspective, I'm Terry Limpert.