Jackie Gingrich Cushman

We have shown as recently as last week that we can do it: The American people responded to Hurricane Sandy by working together and helping people. Our country is more important than either party.

The American people want their political leaders to work together for the good of our nation.

Boehner has control of the House schedule for bills. He has the opportunity to set the tone and agenda. Boehner should schedule a series of small, incremental, nondivisive bills that Republicans and Democrats would both want to vote for. They could be about anything: The color of the carpet on the floor of the House, a special thanks our troops. The purpose of the bills would be to create an environment where Republicans and Democrats would work together to pass bills that help America.

The passage of these bills should include photo ops for both sides that tout Americans working together for our future.

Boehner would then be able to go to Obama as a speaker who is willing to work with Democrats. This would force Obama to begin to work with Republicans.

The public would become used to a Congress working together, and would wonder why the Senate and president were not able to place our country first.

With a narrow victory this election, Obama does not have a mandate, but hehas an opportunity to carry out the high ideals of his victory speech.

"You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours," Obama said Tuesday night. "And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do."

Work to do indeed. With a slim win this election, Obama has the opportunity to go beyond flowery rhetoric. He can return to Washington, reach out to Boehner and begin the real work of putting country first.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.