The Death Of Compromise

Compromise is an essential part of progress

Compromise has historically been the key to progress in the Great American Experiment. All the way back to the time of the framers of the Constitution.

Now, sadly, it appears to have died. And just maybe, with it the future of The American Dream.

Failure to compromise, has led to total paralysis in government. And, we are paying the price.

Looking at quotes about compromise, it is interesting see two schools of thought on the subject.

The first is to never compromise as it is the road to ruin. This idea runs though (interestingly enough) Ayn Rand’s quotes. It seems to be the guiding principle for many in politics today.

But often, those positions are from a high level. Not really addressing specifics. The nuts and bolts of accomplishing things.

On the other side, there are quotes by those who actually got things done.

With them, we see a different picture. There are some examples of both types of quotes at the end of this post.

Clearly, there are times to compromise and times to stand your ground but, those we elect to serve us (at a cost of $174,000 a year with copious vacation time, free health care and lots of other perks), need to use compromise not ideology as a tool to accomplish their mission and get something done, or we all suffer.

“Ideological purity” sounds all well and good but often gets no one anywhere.

I have written here about how political gridlock has increased as a result of failure of legislators to see each others as people and not as enemies. This is certainly one component of it. Another part is that both sides need to work together, not against each other.

With a good compromise, both sides feel invested in the end result. Input from both sides leads to a more balanced solution and better acceptance.

Frankly, at this point, we are all realizing that Washington is very broken. What exists now is just a childish shoving match driven by corporate money driving positions that are self-serving.

Let us not forget, their job is to serve the country, not the special interests that they actually serve.

Now, I believe we are hampered by tests of ideological purity as a result of things like Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. But there are many drivers of today’s intransigence.

Imagine adopting that sort of attitude as an employee or business owner. You can’t imagine it because you know it would be a disaster.

Enough complaining already!

Here are some positive quotes on the subject to provide food for thought.

I shall argue that strong men, conversely, know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle. 

-Andrew Carnegie

Politics is about a lot more than winning and losing. I think politics at its best is about compromise, shades of grey and about issues. 

-Matt Taibbi

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. 

-Abraham Lincoln

My own experience is use the tools that are out there. Use the digital world. But never lose sight of the need to reach out and talk to other people who don’t share your view. Listen to them and see if you can find a way to compromise. 

-Colin Powell

The ability to compromise is not a diplomatic politeness toward a partner but rather taking into account and respecting your partner’s legitimate interests.

-Vladimir Putin

Compromise is moving in the right direction more slowly than one might like. 

-Grover Norquist

Unless you are willing to compromise, society cannot live together. 

-Alan Greenspan


Simple But Happy

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