Alas, citizens, many of us have shaken our heads in frustration and despair as we have watched the seemingly never-ending standoff between two powerful people, often causing a government shutdown. Politics has become like a strategy game as we move people's lives around a game board in order to get our agenda to rise to the top.
I value both the virtues of compromise and conviction. They both have their place and are both needed for a republic to survive.
The virtue of conviction is having principles that you will stand for and that you will not give up, come what may. Conviction involves the highest principles which you hold dearest - those of human rights, liberty, and equality. Maybe your cause is that of being pro-life. Maybe it is that of having free education. Whatever your cause is, write down the five principles (or more) that you will never compromise on. If we give way to everything, what have we to stand for? If we are quick to compromise our own convictions, in the end, who will trust us? What have we been fighting for? We all want to make an imprint on the world, to have that hill on which we stand, and to swear before the God of our fathers that "This is what I believe, and I will never yield!"
If you do not have convictions, you do not have a guide. You must have something you are fighting for in life - we are all fighting for something. There are things that make us indignant and things we know are right. Now, this does not mean that every single cause is yours to fight for, for there are some things that do not conflict with morality. Nazis are bad - this I can say with firm conviction. Genocide is a wicked crime against humanity. I can never compromise on that issue, but I can compromise on something along the lines of "Should we raise or lower taxes?" Nobody's life is immediately at stake, and with an issue like taxes, I can feel comfortable compromising.
I shall share a quote from Bolívar's writings that I greatly enjoyed: "Give life to the dying, to bring freedom to the oppressed and liberty to all. The flame of freedom lighted this sacred fire within me. Liberty is not genuine unless it aims to honor humanity and improve its lot. Anything else is sheer illusion and, I fear, a dangerous illusion." This is where I stand - I believe that liberty should be used to benefit humanity and that anything that is harming humanity is not true liberty, but rather license.
What about compromise? Is there a place for it? Yes! Yes indeed, there is a place for compromise, my dear reader. Imagine a nation torn by gridlock and hatred because both people wanted their way and would not yield. There comes a time and place for compromise, especially when people's lives are not involved. The human factor is where I draw the line - when humans and their lives are in obvious danger, one cannot compromise. But if people's lives aren't at stake, and if you realize that you are holding up a show because of your own desire to show your strength and power - my friend, that is bad. I am not only referring to politicians but to everyday people as well - we all want control in our lives. When we hold up life and stop the show only for our own benefit, we must reconsider what we are truly fighting for and standing for.
Compromise happens when both parties involved have a desire to make things better. When both have similar goals, one may yield a little of theirs to benefit the other. But so should the other person yield a little bit of theirs in order to achieve common benefit. This may happen between people of different cultures, tastes, and politics. I do believe it can and will happen. All we need to do is find common ground with other people and listen to them. Consider: am I standing for my own convictions out of principle, in order to do what is right? Or am I standing out of my own ego? I know it is a natural human instinct to want to be heard, so let's make sure we channel this desire into something positive and remember to listen to others.
This is at the core of what principle vs. compromise comes down to: are we only wanting to be heard or to listen as well?
Farewell, my dear readers! Until next time when I discuss liberty!