Everyone has fears about the future.
If you aren’t afraid of something, you may want to see if your heart is still beating. The question is: Are those fears rational? Are they based on objective reality – or emotions?
This five-part series is about things that I’m afraid of. Am I being rational? or not? I welcome your opinions
This is post two of five. was about divisiveness in America and the need for us to unite – or fail.
Fear No. 2
I fear that we are abandoning the single most important principle on which our Constitution was created and on which our Democracy depends:
Fair and Reasonable Compromise
More than anything else, our Constitution is an embodiment of the spirit of fair and reasonable compromise.
The Framers of the Constitution were a diverse group of men representing a wide range of interested parties. They were from all different walks of society – haves/have not’s, city/country, religious and non, farmers/bankers, slaveholders/abolitionists and on and on.
About the only thing they had in common was that each and every one of them had different views on what the “rules” of the new republic should be. They also all had a bunch of demanding constituents back home that were sponsoring them, ie paying them wads of cash, to represent their own unique interests – much like the politicians of today.
At the Constitutional Convention in the hot Philadelphia summer of 1787, the “debate” consisted mostly of the framers yelling and screaming at each other for months on end. The building in which these debates were held, had the windows nailed shut and the blinds closed - to keep out spies and on-lookers (yes, the Constitution of our country was created behind closed and locked doors). I’m sure the aroma in there was just lovely.
The delegates had tremendous arguments, many of led to fighting it out with bare fists. If you think the debate over health care reform was rancorous, can you imagine the fight over slavery? They did not end the “debate” with a “Perfect” document – far from it. I'm pretty sure that very few people in the room thought that the "3/5ths" rule was perfect.
The original document was so disliked that eighteen of the fifty-five delegates refused to sign and thirteen walked out because the considered it a complete failure.
Despite the enormous differences that existed between them, they re-wrote and rewrote and rewrote until ultimately then came up with a document that absolutely no one was happy with, but that everyone could live with. They did the best they could to accommodate a wide variety of diverse interests – in other words, they compromised, fairly and reasonably.
Because that is how a Democracy works – parties with diverse interests, each giving and taking, but ultimately coming together for the common good. That is the very basis of a Democratic Republic.
After the Constitution was finally ratified, Ben Franklin had this to say about their effort:
“There are several parts of this bill which I do not at present approve, but with some work and level headed compromise someday I might. I doubt that any other caucus could have made a better deal, for all of us.”
The reality is that if you always get what you want, then it’s not a democracy.
Failing to compromise, fairly and reasonably, is a failure to American citizens and to the very foundation of our democracy.
This is not about Left or Right
This is not about Republican or Democrat
This is about the civic responsibility.
Fair and Reasonable Compromise –nothing less is acceptable.
Fair and Reasonable Compromise – it’s the patriotic thing to do! And it’s Constitutional! (The next time you hear a politician say “I didn’t come here to compromise”, just imagine if John Adams and James Madison would have said the same)
If you agree that this is a valid fear then do not support partisan politics in any way, shape or form and support those politicians that work together with the opposing party for the common good.
Note: “Reasonable Compromise” means that both sides START from their desired objective and move towards the center. It does not mean that you stake out an original negotiating position that is so extreme that the “center” is your actual starting position.
Post No. 3: The return of “Fear Mongering” and “Partisan Propaganda” for political gain.