Compromise in the Age of Partisanship
Our forefathers, resistant to political parties, recognized the plight that would come to affect our government if partisanship arose. Today, our political world suffers from a lack of levelheaded communication, and is often hindered by an inability to compromise. The core of our democracy—its citizenry—relies on being politically involved and informed. We continue to be unable to solve our most dire problems with partisan alliances, an election process overridden with special interest money, and an educational system that forfeits critical thinking. While there are real transformations that need to be made, our system is not yet broken and with the necessary conditions, change will soon come.
Establishing such critical change can only occur when members from both sides of the aisle come together for the common good. In an interview with Bill Moyers, former Congressman Mickey Edwards (R-OK) points out that without compromise “we stop functioning as an American people working collectively to solve our problems.” What has made this country of 310 million people remarkable is its vast diversity; though we are diverse, with differing opinions, we must recognize that without compromise, we cannot “keep the bridges from falling down,” pay off debts, provide for the troops, or do just about anything. We see the disjunction that exists within our campaigns. Our democracy has spiraled into a chaotic, polarizing state that necessitates transformation.
As Edwards has stated, we need to have a citizenship that is “capable of operating in this kind of democracy.” It should be our priority to do a more effective job of teaching civics and critical thinking to give the American people tools necessary to create informed opinions. What our political system requires is American engagement and zeal. We need to leverage our government’s potential capacity as a champion of the people. Our political system needs saving, perhaps by a generation with the innovation and the heart to do so—because when the system works, it works beautifully.