WHEN COMPROMISE IS NOT AN OPTION

I got the idea to write this post when I read Dealmaking in a land of no compromise (fishersvillemike.blogspot.com). Here is the post.

The travails of the House and Senate dealing with Obamacare show the weakness in President Trump’s way of governing.
You can’t make deal with people who won’t compromise.
Democrats won’t compromise – Obamacare’s good ideas are ours and problems due to Republicans.
Republicans won’t compromise – at least enough won’t to prevent a deal.
Why?
For both sides, no compromise benefits them.
Trumps used to deals where both sides benefit from getting a deal done.
Democrats think they’ll benefit if they don’t deal with Trump on anything.
Thus stalemate.
That costs all of us. (from here)

So what exactly is the problem? Well, here is the comment I left.

The basic conundrum posed by a republican form government is that compromise is an absolute necessity. When there is no dictator with the power to declare this is how it will be, then thru their representatives the people have to get together and strike a deal. This is why we have to share a common set of values. Unless we share similar values — goals for living — we will have little basis for making any deals.

Too many of the people we send to Congress these days go there with the intention of bringing home the bacon. Their donors finance their campaigns with the prospect of a reward. No bacon. No donations. Thus, these people conceive of only one form of compromise. You scratch my back. I scratch yours. What that means in practice is allowing each other to steal ever more money and power from the American people.

Why do we let them get away with it? They buy us off with Social Security, Medicare, free education for our kiddies, welfare, and so forth.

Therefore, Trump has no choice except to seek real compromise. Unless, he can achieve it, he cannot save our republic. Unfortunately, Trump has to work with the people we send to DC.

We have work to do, not Trump. Our problem is that we must actually elect public officials who are interested in finding a basis for true compromise. We must also convince the people who are already in DC that if they don’t work with Trump, we ain’t voting for them again. (from here)

Upon a little reflection, it occurred to me I ought to expand upon two points: Shared Values and Bringing Home The Bacon.

Shared Values

What were the shared values that brought America together to form a single, unified federation? We all still have an inkling of what those values might be. We still celebrate these shared values every summer. Some of us still take the time read and admire the Declaration of Independence.  Unfortunately, each year the number of people who share the values proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence grows fewer and fewer. Fewer people still believe in the Creator. Fewer see the truths it mentions as self-evident. Fewer cherish the rights of their families, friends and neighbors God-given and unalienable. Each year more and more people see the purpose of government as giving them something they want as their “right”.

In a way, all this is quite odd. Not too long ago Americans fought a violent, bloody civil war over one of those self-evident truths, “that all men are created equal”. So how could we have already forgotten? Is it because there are many who assert that the American Civil War was not about slavery? Doesn’t seem likely. We can go back to the debates that made Abraham Lincoln nationally famous, the Lincoln – Douglas Debates of 1858, and we can easily understand what was the most contentious issue of the day. We can see what he and Stephen Douglas debated. We can see that they debated slavery, whether all men are created equal (see AN EXAMPLE OF BIGOTRY — PART 6).

Is the problem we have not been taught well? Have many of us have carefully studied The Federalist Papers : No. 10 ? How many of us know what Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated and why their debate was important? How know about the role of the Bible in shaping Western Civilization and the formation of the United States? Who do you know who has read the Bible and tried to understand the historical significance of philosophy the apostles taught?

Bringing Home The Bacon

Almost ten years ago I quoted a portion of The Federalist Papers : No. 10  by James Madison (see THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY). Here Madison explains the problem of factional politics and the need for a republic instead of a pure majoritarian democracy.

What is the problem with factional politics? Why did Madison think it necessary to structure the government to cure the mischiefs of faction. Consider how Madison defined the word faction.

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community. (from here)

Consider, for example, one of the major complaints about The United States Constitution. The Constitution did not cure all the mischiefs of faction. The Constitution still permitted slavery. What is wrong with slavery? It permits some men to own others. It permits some men to force others to labor on their behalf.

So long as we are willing to ignore the promptings of our conscience, we will each be tempted in our hubris to join in faction with other men to force our brothers and sisters to obey our will.  Thus, slave owners intimidated, frightened, beat, and kept their slaves ignorant of liberty until they lost hope of being free. Thus, the demagogues in our day constantly offer various factions freebies and “rights” at the expense of taxpayers and their fellow citizens. Instead of beating their victims, those whose pocketbooks and consciences they abuse, tyrannical factions intimidate, misinform, hide their schemes in lengthy bills, packed the courts with dishonest judges, and rammed their legislation and regulations into law without proper review.

In our era men remain the same as in past, except perhaps we honor our oaths even less. The United States Constitution explains the duties and the powers of each branch of our government, but that does not stop our leaders from passing laws they know the Constitution does not permit. Because our leaders care more about power, they do not support and defend The United States Constitution. They do not use the checks and balances defined by The United States Constitution to confine each other to the limits of the powers given them by that document. So it is that until we hold our leaders accountable to the Constitution, we will suffer more and more from the mischiefs of faction. Because we have not fought these mischiefs, our Constitution is already well on its way towards becoming meaningless and useless.

Other Views

  • We’ll Just Let Obamacare Fail (findingpoliticalsanity.com): Here the complaint is that Donald Trump won’t fix Obamacare. Keep in mind the Democrats have not offered a solution, and they created the mess all by themselves. They broke a system that had plenty of problems (problems that mostly resulted from too much government regulation and control), but still worked relatively well for most people. Donald Trump is only our president. All he can do is try to get the Republican majority in Congress to pass a bill he can sign. Unfortunately, too many Republicans in Congress have reneged on their PROMISE to repeal Obamacare. That is our fault, not Trump’s. These Republicans do not believe we will hold them accountable for lying to us. Do Democrats hold the people they vote for accountable for their lies? No. There is an saying. “We get the government we deserve.” That is definitely the sort of government we getting.
  • Embarrassment: A failed promise (moonhowlings.net): Here the author advocates a fix.

    Here’s a novel idea–keep what’s good about Obamacare and fix the bad parts. Maybe the idea of repealing the whole thing was repugnant to too many Americans. Maybe Democrats and Republicans have to work together and push politics aside.

    Problem? There is nothing good about Obamacare that is worth saving. Because Democrats wanted to replace it with a system that involves even more government control, they designed Obamacare to fail.

  • Do Republicans Even Want to Repeal the ACA? (bearingdrift.com): Here is how this article starts.

    Make no mistake, fellow conservatives; we’ve wasted the better part of the last decade hoping for repeal. From the moment the Affordable Care Act became law, candidate after candidate and one elected official after the other has run on repealing it, “if only we could get control of the House.”

    Ok, that won’t actually work. We need the Senate. No, wait. Maybe if we claimed the White House, surely we could scrap the ACA and the odious fines and ever-rising premiums associated with it.

    If we don’t believe a Republican is serious about keeping his promises, what is the point in reelecting him? Any Republican who will not vote to repeal Obamcare needs a Tea Party/Conservative challenger.

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