49.3 F
Fort Worth
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Opinion Lee Hamilton: Don’t hate compromise – it’s the keystone of democracy

Lee Hamilton: Don’t hate compromise – it’s the keystone of democracy

Other News

Commentary: TCC Chancellor Eugene Giovannini: Maintaining Our Mission

Since our inception, one of Tarrant County College’s hallmarks has been our unwavering commitment to serving our community. As we all work to navigate...

Commentary: M. Ray Perryman: The Fed is taking largely unseen but essential action

The inevitable and unavoidable result of the extraordinary measures taken to curb the tragic health effects of the coronavirus has been a strong shock...

Commentary: Rising to the Challenge: Coronavirus Spurs Sacrifice and Generosity in Time of Need

These are difficult days. We’re frightened by the havoc COVID-19 may wreak on our families, friends, local businesses and the simple pleasures of life...

Analysis: Notes from a coronavirus hot spot

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans is right outside my door. But I can't go out. Not much, anyway. My wife and I are...

You may not be ready for next year’s elections but they’re coming up fast. At some point one or more candidates will declare: “I will not compromise!” – and the crowd will go wild.

It’s an easy applause line but I shy away from politicians who use it. In a democracy, being willing (and able) to compromise is a core skill for governing. Shouting “No Compromise!” may fire up the crowd, but it’s a recipe for failure when it comes to getting things done.

Legislative bodies do need members who set out pure ideological positions as part of the public dialogue. But if they’re allowed to control or dominate the process, nothing gets done. Politicians have to understand that working together must prevail in the end.

So why doesn’t it happen more? Because compromise is not easy and it’s especially hard today, when the country is so deeply divided. Even the word “compromise” causes disagreement. To someone like me, it’s a way forward. To others, including a lot of voters, it’s a betrayal of principle.

The thing is, politicians never control the political environment in which they’re working. They have to seek the best solution given the cards they’re dealt.

We need legislators who want to make the system work, and who will consider the broad concerns of the entire population.

One day during World War II, Judge Learned Hand told an assembled crowd: “The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the mind of other men and women.”

Congress struggles because its members don’t know how to compromise, are afraid to, or don’t want to. And voters don’t have much room to complain; we sent them there.

Lee Hamilton is a senior adviser for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government and a former Democratic congressman.


Oh hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive awesome content in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Latest News

Commentary: When to donate rewards to charity and when to give cash

By ERIN HURD of NerdWalletIf you're looking to give to charity this holiday season but don't want to dip into your bank account, donating...

Commentary: Area mayors say ‘Spread cheer this holiday season, not COVID-19’

Mayors of several cities in Tarrant County released the following message: As we enter the holiday season, it’s becoming all too apparent that this year...

Bill Thompson: Love ’em or hate ’em, Happy Holidays!

For a lot of people, “holiday depression” begins around Thanksgiving, or maybe around the time Christmas songs start blaring on the radio and retail...

Robert Francis: Thanksgiving 1954

If, god forbid, my home ever catches on fire, I would make sure my family was safe, then the pets (my wife might say...

COMMENTARY: Student debt in a stimulus package is not a good solution

Making education more affordable and accessible is critical to our future, but simple, across-the-board debt forgiveness is not the best policy. Student debt has been...