From the left wing and the right wing of the political spectrum we are promised liberty but instead we are guaranteed a dictatorship. Lady Liberty is wrapped in a nicely wrapped gift. We are told by these extremists that if we are to have change, real change, pragmatism and compromise are out the window. From the left wing we are told that pragmatism, compromise and incrementalism have allowed income inequality. It is greed and selfishness that has led us to the state that we are in. The right wing promises us liberty wrapped in the trappings of individualism but what they offer is fascism under the guise of we will make America great, again. The disease is materialism. The manner in which the rich and powerful keep us trapped in our inequity is partisanship. The partial cure for our illness is pragmatism and compromise.
The media only informs us of the loudest and most vulgar among us. Clothed in the inequity are excellent themes and causes to be passionate about. To feed the hungry and seek sucker for the ill is a great cause. For are we not as a nation sick with greed and selfishness. Inequality abounds, our incomes have been stagnant for too long and the natives are very restless in feeling the pain of the inequality. What most Americans care most about is whether they can provide for their families to the extent of whether their is a roof over their heads and enough food on the table. The subtleties of whether you are a progressive or a liberal or a right wing fanatic are lost on them. They are into survival mode desperate to find a way out of the mess that the middle class finds itself in.
The problem today is that faction or partisanship is out of control. It is most essential that we remind ourselves that all previous Republics died as a result of the excesses of partisanship. James Madison warned us, about the “instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished.” Madison continued, ” By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
We now have two diametrically opposing views of where America should be going. That is all well and good, but due to their passions they take the view that compromise is unacceptable. That only their way of doing things is the correct way, refusing to compromise. They view it as some kind of badge of honor to stand by their principles. What this guarantees is gridlock, the inability to get anything done.
Anger, frustration and passion increase! There are two unacceptable ways of settling this problem. One is by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; and the other is to give in to every citizen who has the same opinions and interests. The former allows for a dictatorship by which one side can therefore dictate the outcome. The later can never be good because only force can give the impetus necessary to allow for the same opinions and interests.
Without incrementalism you would have tyranny under our system of governance. If we had a parliamentary system where you have one party be elected and have their shot at passing legislation that would enable their program to be enacted. If people like it, than the party remains in power, if they don’t than the government in power would be turned out and the other party would then have their chance at governing.
We, in America, believe that by electing one person that person can change things all by him or herself. This thinking is to our detriment. If we have divided government if you do not have bi-partisanship you will be guaranteed to have the status quo remain. Madison said, ” It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”
The problem that we have is that each side is passionate in believing that their answers and solutions are the right ones. They are steadfast in their belief that only they are right. Without compromise nothing can be accomplished. President Obama is a perfect example of someone who came into office believing that he and his adversaries could work together. This can only work if both sides are willing to work together for the common good. This did not happen, and sadly it was decided by the Republican Party that they would not cooperate with the new President at all. If this behavior continues our Republic will die due to our failure to address our problems. The common good is sacrificed for what is good for the political party. We are blinded by our partisanship to the neglect of what is best for the nation. Our nation can not endure, our house being divided by the wish for partisan gain. Only through the efforts of both parties can we hope to move forward. This will take the willingness to compromise and work for the common good. And in the process if what we achieve is not all of what we would have liked at least progress would have been made. It behooves us all to work for the common good and for the good of the nation and not what is good for your political party.