In Search Of Compromise: A Moment With Bill Reflection
A Blast from the Past
During my lifetime I have known two prostitutes; no, not in a business sense, but still acquaintances on a level of open disclosure. We chatted and we learned about each other as humans will do from time to time. What I remember clearly from those conversations was the candor I heard in their stories. There were no pretenses. There were no excuses. There were simply statements of fact…they were prostitutes….they sold their bodies….they supplied a service for payment rendered. They were entrepreneurs in a business as old as civilization and quite honestly I found their candor refreshing.
Now I mention that because I see daily another type of prostitution in society and it is found in the Halls of Congress. There elected politicians sell themselves to the highest bidder in a display of shameful pandering that again seems to be as old as civilization.
I have infinitely more respect for the first type of prostitute than I have for the second, mainly because the ladies of the evening admit to what they are; the politicians lie behind a stream of verbal nonsense cloaked in patriotism.
In other words, if you are going to screw me then please have the common decency to admit it.
All of this leads to the subject of compromise. Because politicians are bought and paid for by the highest bidder, I have very little hope that they will ever compromise. We have seen far too much evidence lately to support that fact; there can be very little doubt that your elected officials are not looking out for the best interests of their constituency but rather for the best interests of the special interest groups that they represent.
I found myself a few months back becoming quite disillusioned by society. There is so much vitriol being spouted in the media and even online on social networks like Facebook. Those damn Republicans. Those damn Liberals. Those damn gun supporters. Those damn warmongers. Those damn peaceniks. Those damn right-wing Bible-totin’ fascists, and on and on it has gone. Compromise seems to be completely missing from society; the argument goes to the one who can shout the loudest.
It is, quite frankly, madness and I am tired of it.
But the more contacts I had with people on a personal basis, the more I realized that the willingness to compromise still exists. Yes, it takes massive effort at times, but I think more and more people truly want to be able to end this senseless shouting match between two disparate sides.
I highly recommend this book
The Realities of Our Situation
There are currently 7.2 billion people on this planet. I hate to be the one to burst some bubbles, but I will nevertheless: we are not all going to agree on all topics. No matter how loudly we shout we cannot change the minds of all people…..and if that is true and it is, then what is the point of shouting? What is the point of continuing a discourse that involves calling each other names? It is madness and it must end or we are never going to reach compromises that will benefit THE COMMON GOOD!
The sheer nature of compromise means that no one will be completely satisfied with the outcome, but that everyone will be able to live with it to a certain extent. Compromise is based on the assumption and theory that THE COMMON GOOD is more important than the victories of a few. In any society it is the only way to even approach freedom and civility.
Let’s look at this in-depth a bit and see if we can’t possibly come to a mutual understanding.
Worth a watch
Indeed what life is all about
A Recent Example
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about homelessness and how I felt it was a cancer that needed to be eradicated in the United States. All positive comments followed until today.
Today I received a comment by a gentleman who expressed his doubts whether the homeless were really “justified” in being homeless. He felt that many of the homeless simply chose to beg for money rather than work and I surmised that he felt there would be no homelessness if people chose to stop being lazy and got serious about earning their own way.
I will admit that for a brief moment I was ready to rip this guy a new one. How could he possibly be so ignorant as to believe that nonsense? How could anyone in their right mind think such rubbish?
However, he had presented his opinion in a respectful manner and as such he deserved a respectful response. As I was thinking about what I wanted to say to him, I realized that I actually know some “homeless” who are not, in fact, homeless, but instead live with their parents and who actually choose to not work. So my commentator did have some firm ground to stand on in making his comment. True, I do not believe his opinion is valid for all homeless, but there is no doubt that he was partially correct.
I responded eventually, asking for clarification of some of his points, and he responded again in a respectful manner. There was no name-calling; there was simply an exchange of ideas between two human beings over a subject they disagreed about.
I submit to you that if it were possible for him and I to sit in a room and discuss homelessness, we would be able to find compromise eventually. I say that because we approached each other as intelligent human beings who did not try to dominate with opinions but rather simply stated opinions and listened to the other.
Smile on your brother
Where Does Compromise Come From?
There are several factors at play when two parties agree to find some common ground on an issue. The first, and perhaps the most important, is a willingness to compromise. Without that willingness it simply is not going to happen.
There must also be mutual respect on a very human level. I have several writer friends who have very different opinions than I have on issues like national defense, gun control and abortion. That does not mean I am a bad person or that they are bad people; it simply means that we do not agree. I am not the Son of Satan because I want to protect the environment; Bob is not the Son of Satan because he believes that assault weapons should be allowed in a free society. Neither of us is right and neither of us is wrong; we simply disagree on the best way to achieve THE COMMON GOOD.
There must also be a desire to achieve THE COMMON GOOD. There are currently 318 million people living in the United States. How do we come together in agreement when we disagree on so much? Well, we begin by recognizing the fact that what the right wing wants is not what 318 million people want, and what the left wing wants is not what 318 million people want….so we find middle ground, come to agreement, and live to fight another day.
Am I Being Naive?
More Reality to Consider
If you are a student of history then you realize the dangers in dictating policy. The world’s history is littered with detailed accounts of what happens when a dictator controls a country by force of will.
In the United States, a citizen signs on to uphold certain principles, those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The very name of our country states that we are united in upholding those principles. Our government was intentionally established with a balance of power inherent in its structure. Three branches of government, a system of checks and balances, all designed to guarantee that one party or individual could not dictate the policy of 318 million people.
If the game of life does not go our way we do not get to pick up our marbles and go home. We must find a way so that the game benefits everyone; not totally for we will never benefit all groups totally, but partially so that all groups can feel they had a say in the outcome and a vested interest in the future outcomes of future debates.
It is the only way.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Raising awareness one person at a time.”