In today’s political climate, our representatives on either side of the aisle are finding less common ground than ever before, and have an even less desire to move toward it. Compromise may as well be a dirty word. With further debt ceiling talks looming large, concessions must likely be made by all. Here is how each of us feels about compromise.
The word “compromise” by my definition means to settle for less. When we settle for less, we may also put undue hardship on others, sometimes without thinking about it. We often do not notice immediate consequences and are therefore not concerned.
Now when I speak about this, I am not referring to the routine decisions that individuals make such as where to eat or what color to paint the walls. Those types of things are insignificant compared to what affects us as a population and our future generations.
Examples of what we should not compromise:
1) Our elected officials who represent us should not compromise when it comes to spending more money than what we have on hand, leaving a burden for someone else.
2) We the people should not compromise our freedoms by allowing the government to promote values that are different than our own.
3) We should not compromise our power as people by yielding our hard earned money to the government. If 10% is what God requires, the government should NEVER take or think they should deserve to take more than our God! Otherwise, we still have our feet on a plantation.
Where is the talk of freedom that I constantly heard about when I was young?
We need to just do the right things. Think about it! If we keep compromising, eventually things will get totally liberal and anything can go.
Don’t you agree?
Rick Santorum was roundly criticized for admitting during a Republican primary debate that he voted for a bill that was against his beliefs. His reasoning was revealed as he stated “sometimes you take one for the team.” Although he regretted his decision, Santorum was only participating in what has been standard operating procedure since the birth of our nation. That is, he compromised.
Sometimes it’s true that you need to go along to get along. The alternative is that nothing gets done. The consequences of such a result could be catastrophic. The following are but a few examples of famous compromises in American history.
The United States of America may have been a failed experiment had the founding fathers not been able to settle their differences as they hammered out the constitution in the summer of 1787. The division of Congress and the creation of the electoral college were two products of compromise. Many of the other disagreements were between the northern and southern states and centered on slavery in terms of representation and perpetuation. Ultimately, the Three-Fifths Compromise was reached which counted each slave as less than one person, and The Slave Trade Compromise delayed the ban on importing new slaves until 1808. While such actions are unthinkable in today’s world, they more than likely saved our country at the time.
As slavery continued in the 19th century, the Missouri Compromise and Compromise of 1850, both formulated by Henry Clay (the “Great Compromiser”), were instrumental to preserving the union as new states were admitted.
A compromise even selected a president. In the aftermath of a contested election following the Civil War in which no candidate held a majority, Democratic Congressional leaders agreed to put Rutherford B. Hayes in office in return for Republicans withdrawing federal troops from the South and accepting Democratic governments in the last of the South’s “unredeemed” states.
More recently, the major tax structure overhaul known as the Tax Reform Act of 1986, was passed amid rare bipartisan support.
While many more instances can be found in a quick scan of a history textbook, the truth is that our nation’s business is rooted in compromise each passing day and with each important piece of legislation. Or at least that’s the way it should be. That’s the way it used to be until 2009, when Republicans decided they would oppose any bill sponsored by a Democrat, even if they were previously in favor of it (e.g. the individual mandate for health care).
A.C. Smith is not the only person with ideas about acceptable fiscal policy. His refusal to compromise on spending and taxes is right in line with the Tea Party platform. But when sticking to principle at all costs threatens to shut the country down, putting struggling individuals and families in danger of going hungry and receiving crucial benefits, their obstinance is no longer admirable.
I am not suggesting that compromise is desirable in every situation. We certainly shouldn’t look to make deals with our foreign enemies. However, as we elect our representatives and senators, and as they propose laws that affect all of us, we must constantly consider the best way to make progress.
Let’s move forward even if it’s one small step at a time. If we give a little, we’ll get a little. Over time, that will add up to a lot.