Friday, June 8, 2012

Compromise is Not a Four-Letter Word

It has at least ten by my count. That does make it a complex word. And so often we end up arguing two different definitions of the same thing with our assumptions out of whack and our values unnecessarily threatened.

Senator Rand Paul (R. Kentucky)
This was illustrated very well today on a couple of comments in an article about Paulistas (not the people from São Paulo but the supporters of Ron Paul) being very upset with Rand Paul for declaring his support for Mitt Romney.

The comment exchange (internet names deleted) went like this:
[No. 1]- "Compromise is when you sacrifice known principles for political expediency, which is EXACTLY what has gotten us into the very mess we face today."
[No. 2 in response]- "Compromise is also when an agreement is made by two or more opposing sides in which the most important needs of both sides are met, at least to some degree, possibly inculding the needs imposed by ones principles."
[No. 1 again]-  "One of MANY things I've learned from scripture, the Word of God, is to ALWAYS do what is right, regardless of the consequences.  Sadly, we don't have anyone with that mindset in government."
Notice what happened there. In response to the different definition of "compromise" by No. 2, No. 1 apparently felt threatened and retreated to religious platitudes - not to mention a questionable accusation against everyone "in government." (Yours truly being just one federal employee - although I have to admit, I don't always do what is right. But it's not for lack of trying.) But the fall-back dogmatic response is exactly what I don't like about so many on the religious right and in Libertarian circles now forming the base of the tea party and much of the Republican Party.

There is a definition of "compromise" that means giving up one's moral values. But that's not the definition I prefer. I really like how No. 2 phrased it. And I don't see what's so wrong with that even if it doesn't make Rand Paul a true believer.

(By the way, I would never vote for Rand Paul. It would compromise my principles.)

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