|The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small--'Off with their heads!'|
Imagine for a moment that parties engaged to be married were discussing their future. One party issued an ultimatum to the other: “During our marriage you will be required to do exactly as I say...without discussion or compromise.” Given such a requirement for marriage, few couples would ever tie the knot.
Unfortunately, this appears to be the attitude, at least at the congressional level of our government, which is engendered by members of the Tea Party. Such an attitude was clearly expressed by Mr. Murdock, the Tea Party candidate who recently defeated Republican Senator Luger in the primary election in their state. When asked about his attitude about bi-partisanship approaches to legislation, Mr. Murdock said his position on bi-partisanship was that the Democrats should simply come and agree with everything the Republicans wanted.
Such a posture is very unlikely to change the deadlock which has paralyzed the U.S. Congress for far too long. The rhetoric of campaign extremes, particularly on the conservative side, seems to attempt to make “compromise” or “moderate” a dirty word. Candidates in the Republican primary appeared to want to out-conservative one another, while unfortunately failing to advise the electorate of what they might or might not do about jobs, the economy, flagging education and increasing attacks on the environment.
Unfortunately, too many right-wingers who carry little copies of the United States Constitution in their pockets have forgotten the lessons of our forefathers. These ideologues should revisit the book detailing how our constitution was born. It is entitled The Miracle at Philadelphia. [Here is one helpful summary of historical findings in Catherine Drinker Bowen's book.] Had our forefathers carried forward the attitude of today’s politicians, the wonderful instrument known as the United States Constitution would never have been given birth. The history of the writing of the basic instrument of our laws is a history of compromise among people with strongly held views. As Bowen states it: "...one sees here a group of reasonable men, strong enough to yield." They produced a foundation instrument for government which has endured longer than almost any other document known to man with the possible exception of the Ten Commandments.
The issue of the federal deficit is a good example of why an unyielding attitude and the mantra of “no compromise” does not work. Politicians often compare government to a family and rant about the fact that families must live within their means. Any family who found themselves deeply in debt but with the opportunity to both increase their income and reduce their expenditures would most certainly adopt an approach including both. Unfortunately, Republicans choose to follow their written pledges given to no-tax gurus without regard to what the future may hold or what may be the critical needs of this country.
In my opinion, the future of America is certainly not just “my way” but certainly should be “our way.”