Saturday, August 27, 2011

When Did Compromise Become Evil?

I think I've probably ranted about this or similar things before but it continues to be a frustration.  As politicians and political activists get more and more polarized, the art of the compromise seems to disappear.  I would like to remind my readers that our country was built on compromise.  Even today, the voters are split down the middle.  Sometimes they lean right and sometimes they lean left but there are always significant numbers of people on both sides of the aisle.  The art of the compromise is finding a way to satisfy both sides.  I'm just not seeing it anymore.

Nowadays, it seems that all I hear is rhetoric.  This official is evil, that one is ignorant, this other one is going to bring our country to ruins.  Our leaders are so busy vilifying their opponents (and by extension everybody who votes for their opponent) that they have no opportunity or even a desire to work with them.  There is no mutual respect between parties.  In fact, it seems that there aren't even any shared values.  Fiscally conservative democrats seems to be shunned by their party as well as republicans willing to raise any kind of taxes.  What's the result?  A congressional approval rate of less than 20%.  Everybody seems to think that our elected officials are a bunch of greedy, spoiled, self-righteous, idiots (with the exception of their own elected representatives of course).  Are they wrong?

In an increasingly fractured society, we are desperately looking for real leaders.  People who inspire those around them, who can bridge the ideological gaps.  I think President Obama's popularity was due to the perception that he was such a leader.  Perhaps he even started out that way.  But now he's just like everybody else:  everything that goes wrong is the republicans' fault and all of the successes are the due to the hard work of democrats.

In my opinion, our problems in government are not because one party or the other but because neither party is willing to work with the other.  Not only that, but I think the animosity is getting worse and, unfortunately (since I'm a republican) I think the larger section of blame goes to the republican party.  They're the ones signing pledges to never raise taxes, they're the ones who seem the most unwilling to even speak to the other party, and they're the ones spouting the most rhetoric.  So, to the ALL of elected officials of our country I say, quit acting like two-year-olds, stop the blame game, and get to work!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Debt Compromise Passes

Wow!  Talk about a last minute save!  The compromise passes and we don't default on our debts... yet.

Unfortunately there's still a lot to be done and a lot of disagreement on how to do it.  As near as I can tell (in very broad terms) the Democrats want to expand revenue and the Republicans want to cut spending/reduce the size of government.  The problem is the lack of compromise.

Our country was built on compromise.  You get some of what you want and I get some of what I want and we both come out ahead.  It seems that in Washington, the tone is just the opposite.  At least with the extreme ends of the political spectrum.  Out there it seems to be I get what I want and then I get more of what I want.  There were those voting against the bill because it didn't cut enough.  There were those voting against the bill because it didn't raise taxes.  In my opinion, both extremes are wrong.

Where is the statesmanship?  Where is doing what's best for the country?  The bill that passed wasn't the best it could have been but it was far better than nothing.  We need to step down from our ideological soap boxes and work together.

So, to my congressman and senators, I say, "If it moves us in the right direction (even if it's not as good as you would like it to be), you'd better have a good reason for not supporting it."  Oh, and incidentally, I don't think Jeff Flake (who I like) has a good reason for not supporting it.  Sorry Jeff.