How To Get Things Done: Compromise
World War II British Leader
The Compromise of 1850
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, the great World War II allied leader, human beings are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
Churchill was speaking, of course, of Russia, but I think his colorful description applies to the behavior of people everywhere as well.
Personally, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, so it took me a while to learn that the majority of us rarely choose to exercise our brains if we can find a way to avoid it.
Never Admit Fault?
Moreover, we almost never admit fault if we can find a way to rationalize it.
It's human nature, I suppose.
With few exceptions, for instance, most newsmen (that includes you, too, ladies!) much prefer to wait until deadline before getting started on a story; the truth is that most of us actually do our best work that way!
But this column is not about newsmen or deadlines; it's about you, me and the rest of the world -- and how we often can be contentious, argumentative and intransigent at the wrong time.
Case in point: The notorious crime bill.
President Clinton is the one man in the United States with the power and influence to get something done about the burgeoning problems of crime in this country, especially crimes of violence.
Uphill Battle Against Crime
Clinton has done his job; he's put the issue on the front burner by having Congress consider a package(s) designed to begin a new uphill battle against crime.
Sure, some of us have our own ideas about what should be done, and how, but it's Clinton, not us, who has the ultimate responsibility to lead the way.
In a democracy, we express our views freely and openly; that's the way it should be.
Time to Compromise
But, when we've had our say, and the nation faces a serious problem -- and what problem is more serious than crime and violence today? -- it becomes time to put Humpty-Dumpty back together, time to compromise, time to think of what's best for the country.
People who have legitimate objections to the crime bill, such as religious, ethical and humane considerations relating to capital punishment, may have difficulty finding a way to compromise. That's understandable!
But there's no excuse, at a time like this, for out-and-out, in-your-face politics.
Bold New Steps Needed
Everyone knows this country must take some bold new steps to quell the fears of Americans who are seeing violence become a constant, everyday concern.
We obviously need legislation now that will provide more police and a greater effort toward prevention of crime and violence.
So let's get off the dime, find a way to compromise, and get a bill passed!
Speaking of compromise, the major league baseball owners and players -- something of an enigma themselves -- might consider the idea.
While the owners maintain that they are not making enough money, they sit idle while the turnstiles at stadiums across the country remain mute, costing them untold millions of dollars.
The players, meanwhile, not only lose significant amounts of money, but risk the best part of their season, their statistics and a chance at making new records, not to mention the enmity of the fans.
C'mon guys. Let's play ball!
I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Aug. 20, 1994. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages.