For a period of three short days, the federal government was shut down. Hundreds of thousands of government workers faced furloughs of indefinite lengths, until Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reached a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reopen the government. In doing so, Schumer’s political stock took a major hit. He now faces protesters from his own party who accuse him of betraying their fight against the evil populists who they believe are currently controlling our government.
At the end of the day, however, Schumer’s deal was simply another example of the compromise that is essential to maintaining the stability of our nation. There is great danger in the fact that these compromises have become so vilified by the rank and file of both major parties. Any Republican who dares to back a spending increase is suddenly a “RINO” in the eyes of the party’s more conservative members. On the other side, Democrats who suggest that perhaps some of President Trump’s milder policy goals might not directly lead to the collapse of our nation are quickly branded as traitors to the party’s ideals by the far left.
This attitude has led us to the point where a major political party is willing to shut down the federal government on behalf of a group of people who are not even Americans, just to block the other party’s president from achieving a victory. This type of scorched earth approach is more than immature, it’s a danger to the very heart of our nation. As we approach a point where each party labels the other as an enemy whose goal is the destruction of American ideals, it becomes considerably more difficult for politicians to reach any form of compromise with members of the opposing party.
Ultimately, compromise is virtually always necessary to make progress. Both parties must come to the realization that they simply cannot have everything that they want. Rather, they must come together and find areas of common interest. Of course, each party has certain issues upon which no compromise can be reached. At the same time, there are a vast number of issues such as prison reform, infrastructure repair and expansion, and opposition to crimes like slavery and human trafficking that are ripe for bipartisan compromise.
A willingness to compromise would shatter the international view of a dysfunctional American government that is frequently gridlocked by factional infighting. At the end of the day, we are all fellow Americans; citizens of this great experiment in representative government that began over 200 years ago. By focusing on what we agree on, Americans can present a united front to the world community, showing that despite our differences, we are all ultimately committed to furthering the good of our nation.
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