Brookins Head Shot*One of the things I learned as an advertising executive is how many ways companies package the same product and service to people with different bells and whistles.

Bonuses, special offers, sales, throw-ins, and the like are frequently just another way of giving you things that were already part of the thing you bought but now it sounds better because it has the words “upgraded tier discount” attached to it.

Of course this works because people love a sale. And unless you’ve been paying attention, most of us don’t have any idea if we’re getting a good deal. Unfortunately this applies to politics as well. Folks can choose an incumbent because of inertia; folks can choose to unseat an incumbent simply because the challenger sounds new and fresh and is offering a great deal. Neither method is sound reasoning.

Last Tuesday the Republican Party gained control of the Senate. This could be because the states in which Republicans gained offices were truly dissatisfied with the Democratic incumbent’s record. Or it could have been because folks in those states were dissatisfied with President Obama and took it out on the Democrats they could vote against. History tells a different story though. That after six years in office a president’s party is likely to lose a handful of Senate seats. This trend is true irrespective of the party in the White House so it seems like it is a case of folks voting for change because of the shiny new packaging.

I hope this isn’t the case.

I have documented the many ways I disagree with conservatives in this space. However I take a wait and see attitude regarding the upcoming shift in the Senate. Hopefully folks voted for conservatives because they truly believed in the concepts and programs being promised. We probably won’t be able to determine that until policies are enacted (or not) and the people who voted for those conservatives express their pleasure (or not). If you were promised X and your new Senator fails to deliver X, I await the grumbles, rallies, and voter registration drives to unseat them.

I also hope that, Republican led or not, Senators will work together to produce and pass legislation that address issues facing the country. I would be very disappointed if Democrats (who will only be outnumbered 53-45) undertook the stalling tactics employed by Republicans when faced with liberal legislation in the past few sessions. That’s not the way to run a country or win the vote of thinking Americans.

I recognize that President Obama campaigned on a platform of Change in 2008 and it is possible that many people voted for him based on that principle alone. Number one: anyone doing that voted for the wrong reason (even if I liked the outcome). Number two: anyone doing that wasn’t paying attention because Obama was clear in the changes he wanted to lead the country in embracing. The signature change in the United States during his tenure (universal health care) was always a priority he touted. And now that we can look back and definitively state that a vote for him was not a vote for a blind vote for some nebulous idea like change, instead it was a vote for a concrete change like being able to afford health care coverage even in low paying blue collar jobs at small companies.

Let’s hope we can look back a few years from now and say that these incoming Senators were not elected just because they were fresh blood but instead because they actually had ideas and programs that they thought benefited the country. Let’s understand those ideas and programs and let’s weigh their merits.

We as a people deserve nothing less.

Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War.  His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.