Thursday, August 16, 2012

Can We Compromise on Compromise?

This is a little more political than I tend to get, but this is something I need to say. First, I open with a comic from one of my favorites, Dan Piraro at Dan and I do not always completely agree on everything, but I know if I sat down with him we could have a polite and respectful conversation in spite of our differences. He really nailed it with this comic:

Image copyright Dan Piraro at
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides us this:
com·pro·mise noun ˈkäm-prə-mīz
1a: settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions
1b: something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different things
2: a concession to something derogatory or prejudicial

Lately, in the political arena compromise has become a dirty word. It means caving in. Giving up your principles. Letting the bad guys have their way. Proving you have become a spineless flip-flopper. Yes, this is one definition of compromise. #2 on Merriam-Webster's list. But there is another...

What we need is more of definition #1. The settlement of differences. In a divided organization, the solution lies somewhere in between the two extremes. Without sitting down and talking, without everybody giving up something for the greater good, nothing will change. This is fine when it is in your best interest politically to maintain the status quo, but virtually no one with any intelligence would look at our country today and say we are on a perfect course and no corrections are necessary.

There are some hard issues, and I understand they will be extremely difficult to work through to everyone's satisfaction. But, because someone is on the opposite side of you for a  hard issue does not mean that talking to them on other issues is a compromise (#2). In fact, politicians owe it to their constituents and to the nation to move the country forward. Unless we all agree 100%, this will require some of compromise #1.

Do people really want this kind of complete lack of communication between the parties? Does anyone really believe that is the best way to get us out of the mess we are in?

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