Stop Rewriting Thanksgiving—and the Rest of History – The Daily Beast

Be thankful for compromise.  It is not overrated–and is needed to address major US budget issues, European debt problems, and many other issues.

Political heroes in our history—including all the Rushmore presidents and other admired chief executives, the greatest leaders of Congress and even titans of the judiciary—emphasized flexibility over fanaticism. To use our current terminology, they flip-flopped regularly, with Jefferson disregarding old principles to purchase Louisiana, Madison rechartering the Bank of the United States after opposing its initial establishment, FDR and Reagan vastly increasing deficits after solemnly pledging to balance budgets, Nixon recognizing Red China after three decades of denunciation, Bill Clinton signing welfare reform after two prior vetoes, and so forth. Barack Obama’s inability to negotiate a similar pivot to adjust to new budget realities and a new Republican House hasn’t enhanced his stature, it’s diminished it. One need not embrace the Emersonian idea that “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” to recognize the value of adjusting tactics in the interest of strategy, of reconsidering short-term means in order to achieve long-term ends.

via Stop Rewriting Thanksgiving—and the Rest of History – The Daily Beast.


3 thoughts on “Stop Rewriting Thanksgiving—and the Rest of History – The Daily Beast”

  1. Compromise seems to be a term long forgotten to the American nation. Initially, it can be easy to look at the circus known as Congress and point a finger at fanaticism. Our founding fathers were able to create the most unique and free nation on earth because of their willingness to compromise, and having forgotten that politics is often called the “art of compromise”, our current leaders have been recklessly dragging our country down. However, as I have followed current events over the last several years, it is clear that compromise is a forgotten art on all levels of society. I myself find it easy to criticize what I see in the news concerning the lack of progress our lawmakers are able to make in virtually every department. While I believe we can all agree that Congress has a long way to go, I don’t think we can expect any changes until we give them a reason to change. Right now, we fuel the incompetence of Congress with our own zero-sum ultimatums. Until we are willing to make concessions and compromises in the name of progress and win-win scenarios, we can only expect to see the ongoing trend to continually spiral downward.

    Politics as the art of “confined compromise” :

  2. I agree with the comment above. The lack of compromise hurts our country and stalls our government from making any decision. It seems that the more stubborn you are the more likely it will be that you’ll get your way. At least that’s what I’ve learned from four year old children. However, with the concept of compromise in the foreground, I think that a big part of decision making and coming to an agreement is adjusting your approach or game plan in order to move forward. Unexpected situations arise after someone is elected to office. Their campaign promises can drastically change if they are faced with a situation that calls upon them to make adjustments. In these adjustments we shouldn’t abandon our standards and our values, but we might have to think outside the box on how to remain true while adjusting a solution that will accommodate all parties involved. It’s much, much easier said than done. It’s impossible to satisfy everyone and in the case of Obama and the budget, even those you thought you could count on for a vote changed their minds. When voting on the budget, two Democrats voted against and created a filibuster. Because of this both parties have started drafting compromising bills to come to a solution.

  3. I would agree that compromise may be becoming a lost art. I think that in addition to that idea however, this article goes beyond a little. In some cases such as the ones that Mr. Medved mentions, politicians haven’t just yielded some of their aims for the sake of cooperation. Sometimes politicians throughout history have made decisions in complete opposition to their declared ideals. I think that there are two main reasons why this is the case. First, sometimes politicians realize that they were wrong or misinformed about policy decisions. Occasionally is may be difficult to tell whether a political figure is changing views because of this reason or because of dishonesty (as in the case of making political promises to get votes without the intention of keeping those promises). However, in the former situation a political figure should be given the ability to learn from their mistakes and correct the consequences. For this reason it would be even more important in the next election after such a change to base electoral decisions on results and the candidate as a whole rather than on the fact that they changed their position and are suddenly dubbed as a flip flopper. Second, every political decision must be made according to the circumstances. While looking to the past can give useful insight into the correct course of action, the circumstances and consequences will be affected by a variety of other factors. Nations will never be faced with the same decision twice because something about every situation will be different from the past. I agree with the ideas mentioned from Martin Luther King Jr. that “patient progress toward real-world goals [mean] more than self-righteous gestures that [do] nothing for the cause”. No matter the reasoning for a change in strategy, such changes can be very necessary to receive positive results in the long-run. I think it interesting that such deviations from principle are the primary target against Mitt Romney in recent advertisements. Ultimately, I think that the fact that someone has changed policy is not a good enough reason to choose to oppose a political candidate.

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