Monday, May 15, 2017

Compromise Is NOT A Dirty Word

(This image was found at the University of Michigan's Center for Political Studies Blog.)

I am a progressive (liberal, leftist, etc.), and nothing would make me happier than for this country to adopt the views of progressives. I truly think that would make this a better country for all citizens.

Others are just as convinced that the ideas put forth by conservatives are what the country needs. They would like to see the country adopt only conservative views.

Neither of those things are going to happen -- no matter how much the true believers on both sides want it. There are not enough citizens on either the left or the right to impose their agenda on the country. That's because most Americans are neither liberal nor conservative. They are moderates, and while they believe some liberal things and some conservative things, they don't accept the whole agenda of either side of the political spectrum.

This moderation is expressed in our elections. When the public thinks one side is going too far, they put the other side back in power. This has happened many times in our history, and I'm sure it will continue to happen. This moderate majority wants progress and wants to country to prosper, but they also want change done in small steps so they can be sure we don't mess up what we have already accomplished. This frustrates those on both the left and the right, but it's just the way things are. This has always been a moderate country.

Unfortunately, too many of our politicians don't realize this. They seem to have an all or nothing attitude. For them, there is no middle ground -- it's either victory or defeat for their personal ideology. That has resulted in an extremely partisan government, where neither Republicans nor Democrats can give even a inch.

It hasn't always been this way. In the past, the two sides have respected each other -- and while they didn't agree, they were able to talk to each other and find a compromise to move the country forward. They didn't view each other as enemies, but just as opponents who had different ideas -- and they hammered out compromise solutions that allowed both sides to retain their values and beliefs. Neither side got everything they wanted, but both could claim at least partial victory.

That's the way things work in a democracy. Unfortunately, that's not how our democracy is currently working -- and it's why our federal government seems incapable of solving any of the nation's problems. They no longer understand this simple concept -- compromise is NOT a dirty word. It is how democracies work.

I believe that is why the public has such a low opinion of Congress. It's not because either the left or the right is unable to pass their agendas -- but because the two sides have lost the ability (and desire) to compromise for the good of the country.

Democracy is a messy form of government, but it is also the best. But we need to realize that the lifeblood of any democracy is compromise. Without compromise, democracy ceases to exist. Those of us on the left and the right need to understand that. That may be an uncomfortable truth, but it is the truth.

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