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October 24, 2017


I am a contributor to a blog written by a very bright and perceptive lady professor. Today she lamented both Democratic and Republican failures to compromise, concluding that >

“Before the GOP was taken over by conspiracy theorists, racists, religious fundamentalists and Big Money, principled Democratic and Republican political figures used to engage in civil conversation and even productive policymaking.” She noted further that >

“We will never recover the art of civil conversation, let alone policymaking intended to serve the public good, if we refuse to see any merit in anyone who doesn’t agree with us 100%. That sort of political intransigence–prominent among the GOP base and so-called “Freedom Caucus”– is what has destroyed the Republican party. Democrats shouldn’t emulate it.”

I rarely disagree with what this lady professor writes and do not disagree with her account of the coming demise of the Republican Party given their divisive leadership. However, I think her mild rebuke of Democrats assumes the political normalcy of post-WW II politics, an environment where Democrats and Republicans sat down and compromised their differences, talked to one another as co-equals and in general worked together for the common good, but that is an environment that does not exist today, so I responded as follows >

Rodney famously asked “Can’t we all get along,” and the answer is up for grabs. I fully understand that liberals have to give some to get some in legislative tradeoffs, but someone tell me how you can talk to a member of the Tea Party when he or she will not give you the time of day, a Tea Party member who will not give an inch irrespective of who is in charge, including Republicans. Their “it’s my way or the highway” sneering answers to calls for compromise do not allow for being nice and accommodating. Likewise, you can’t be nice to Richard Spencer or Adolph Hitler. How can you compromise with Aryan nonsense, slavery and fascism?
However, there have been instances of compromise in the past worth noting. Thus Yankee abolitionist shipbuilders and Southern slaveholders managed to come up with a Constitution in 1789 and a Bill of Rights two years later, both results of compromises. They did it by ignoring the “peculiar institution” of slavery. I cannot ignore the white supremacy instincts of the neo-Nazi Spencer any more than I can accept a madman’s gas chambers. There is no room for compromise, and while we haven’t come to that point quite yet, Trump’s encouragement of such neo-Nazi antics in Charlottesville and elsewhere have set us on that path of no return.
Count me as what could be called a liberal Tea Partier in that I cannot and will not compromise with racists and homicidal maniacs. Sorry, but the idea of compromise assumes competing positions on the issues of the day that, standing alone, have a rational basis as policy. I don’t think white supremacy and killing people willy-nilly is a rational basis for policy decisions.
So what to do? Defeat Tea Partiers at the polls and otherwise neuter them in the give and take of legislating. Stand up for what really made this country great – our democratic institutions bought and paid for by the blood of patriots – without which we are a mere ATM for Wall Street.




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