The conventions are over. The speeches have been made. The sprint to Election Day has begun.
Messages delivered at the Democratic National Convention and the previous weeks Republican National Convention were aimed at firing up the party faithful.
But this election should belong to those in the middle, voters looking for truth unencumbered by party rhetoric.
Those longing for dedicated, driven leaders regardless of political affiliation.
Yes, when you go to the polls on Nov. 6, you will be asked to proclaim whether you prefer Democratic President Barack Obama back for four more years or to make the switch to Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
But this election should not be about one man or one party versus another.
It should be the election when the American people demand action from their elected officials at all levels and resolve to work together to move the country forward.
Voters will need to dig below the surface to determine which candidate might just possess such a quality, and which contenders for other offices show similar promise.
In their respective campaign acceptance speeches, Romney and Obama often sounded very much alike.
They both evoked the spirit of late Apple chairman Steve Jobs.
They both reached out for inspiration from past presidents, ironically from each others parties.
Romney embraced the confidence of Democrat John Kennedy and the space program, while Obama recounted the humility of Republican Abraham Lincoln.
Each pointed to the nations immigrant history, to the struggles of their grandparents and parents, and to their pride in our military.
And each asked voters to join him in building a better shared future.
That project will require more hard work and compromise, and less selfishness and partisanship.
What is missing in Washington is a spirit of collaboration for the greater good. We need to elect individuals to the White House, to the Senate and to the House who will embrace a different direction for America, either newcomers with that focus or incumbents who show that they get it.
We were reminded during the conventions of the many issues we must confront as a nation.
The economy and job creation. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Our relations with China, Russia, Israel and Iran. Immigration and border security. Health care. The war on terrorism.
The discourse will include topics such as gay marriage, abortion and reproductive choice.
And these are the same critical issues we faced four years ago.
Partisan politics is the culprit. Due to bickering and posturing, Congress hasnt even accomplished the fundamental task of passing a budget in four years.
The Republicans spent that time taking only those steps that might help them reclaim the presidency, and none that would help Americans live better lives.
Democrats in Congress have been no better, seldom seeking out opportunities for shared success.
Obama offered the single most poignant statement we heard from those who took the stages at the conventions: No democracy works without compromise.
Weve seen plenty of proof in recent years that that statement is true.
On Nov. 6, lets start electing people willing to take meaningful steps to move our country forward.