Can We Still Compromise?

The current political environment in the United States is highly partisan, and bitterly so. Social media and gerrymandering to make safe Congressional districts for each party, has given rise to increasingly divided political parties, and an environment where politicians on both sides refuse to compromise at all. These days, even the smallest hint of compromise is attacked and it’s all or nothing.

President Reagan was fond of saying that he would take any deal where he would get 75 or 80% of what he wanted. Compromise is not a bad word.  Of course, we would not compromise on deeply held principles, but there are a relatively small number of issues that are a matter of a moral “right and wrong”. Fortunately, there are some who provide a hope that people who disagree can still find enough in common to work together.

Late last week, a bi-partisan group of ten Senators came to a compromise agreement on an infrastructure plan. The agreement is less than President Biden’s proposed bill, large portions of which had nothing to do with infrastructure and which was the largest non-pandemic spending bill in US history. The agreement was also more than a Republican proposal. The Senators agreed on a bill that would include only infrastructure and still contained large spending on infrastructure, and would leave other spending to be debated and voted on without being lumped together. The question remains to be seen as to whether this compromise will become law. Yet, it is an encouraging sign that ten Senators are will to work together to get something done that has a semblance of rationale

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