COLUMN: Politics is the art of compromise

Published 9:07 am Monday, April 30, 2018

There are two words that every voter needs to fully understand before selecting the candidate they will support at the polls during the August primary and the general election in November.

By understanding these two words, voters will be able to better comprehend the candidates’ ability to represent the views of the voters on a host of issues.

These two words have not been mentioned much in the past few elections, ever since the Tea Party came into power and the Progressive political movement emerged.

These two words strike fear into the hearts of the far left and the far right political wings.  These two words represent exactly what these political fringes believe to be the problems with a democratic form of representative government.

The words?  “Compromise” and “Bipartisanship.”

When compromise becomes the prevailing power in legislative initiatives, good things happen.  Three outstanding examples of “compromise” are the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Medicare Modernization Act.

These laws were reviled at first, but all three laws eventually became landmarks of bipartisanship.

It is when compromise disappears and bipartisanship takes a back seat during debates that bad things happen.  Two prime examples of recent one-sided legislation are Obamacare and the passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs bill.

No Republicans voted for Obamacare because their party was blocked from participating in the final drafts of the landmark legislation. 

No Democrats voted for the recent Tax Cut and Jobs Bill that sailed through the U.S. House and Senate last December because they were cut out of the action and their fiscal concerns were ignored.

But the problem doesn’t lie with just the elected officials in Washington.  Part of the problem are the American voters.

Why are you even thinking about voting for someone who cannot commit to working in a bipartisan manner or is unwilling to embrace compromise?

Our U.S. Rep. Fred Upton has represented southwestern Michigan for many terms and he gets re-elected every two years because he is proud to be a bipartisan force in the U.S. Congress.  He is also brave enough to compromise on many issues in an effort to move the country forward.

If you are inclined to attend future candidate debates, be sure and ask each candidate, whether you are for or against them, if they would be willing to compromise on important legislation.  Then ask them if they could ever support bipartisan legislation offered by the opposing party.

If they cannot compromise, or if they shun the thought of bipartisanship, vote instead for someone who can do both.  You will be doing your country a great service.