Welcome to our brand new feature called Jammer’s World. Jammer is a guest columnist whose essays I will be posting from time to time. I hope you enjoy reading his view as much as I do!
Compromise is not the answer
How many times have we heard the call for compromise in Washington DC? It seems like every day there is a call from somebody that we need to find politicians that can put aside their political differences in order to reach compromise on legislation that will move the country forward. Well, I would like to say that compromise is not the answer; in fact it just might be the problem.
It was many years ago that I was attending a business meeting when the meeting leader informed us that we had the most difficult job in the universe facing us. We were a committee that was assembled to find a solution to a problem that was facing the company. That didn’t sound too difficult. However, I was shocked when the meeting leader put a picture of a horse “as designed by a committee” on the overhead projector. It was an awful looking creature that did not resemble a horse by any stretch of the imagination.
I thought to myself, just what is this awful looking creature and how could it ever be functional for anything? It was at this point the meeting leader informed us that we would be challenged with avoiding a similar monstrosity because our task would require reaching a consensus of the committee.
Sure enough, the eight members of the committee were going to have to COMPROMISE on a number of issues if we ever hoped to reach a consensus. That meant we were assured of coming up with a plan that would probably never work as it was intended. Just like the committee that designed a horse with only three legs in order to get one committee member’s favorite wheel as part of the horse, we were also going to have to make compromises.
It didn’t take me long to understand that compromise was not the best path to arriving at the right answer. We needed to correctly identify the policies that would require implementation if we ever hoped to reach a successful conclusion to our assignment. It was apparent that compromising on these things was not going to produce the right solution.
So, why is everybody calling for compromise in the US House and Senate when it comes to passing legislation? Just like the horse “as designed by a committee” was a disaster; is it any wonder that nothing coming from Washington works?
When it comes to passing legislation and governing, I am steadfast in my belief that principles can never ever be compromised. However, that does not mean the right and the left cannot work together.
Just like the American eagle has a left and a right wing with both needing to work together to fly straight ahead, the same can be said for our government. The traditional liberals are very good at identifying the unmet needs of the citizens. However, they are terrible at prioritizing and designing the programs to meet those needs. On the other side of the aisle, conservatives are concerned about the conservation of the nation’s assets and resources. They are also very good at designing and managing the programs to obtain their objectives.
The way the left and right should work together to move the country forward is to have each do what they do best. Liberals should identify the unmet needs of Americans. The liberals and conservatives should then agree on the priority list of which needs to address first. We simply can’t afford to do them all at one time even if the liberals think money is not an issue. Yes, it is OK to compromise on WHAT to do, but not HOW to do it. There is a world of difference in this critical issue.
Once the priority list is determined, the conservatives should design the programs to meet these needs and put management systems in place to ensure the programs are both effective and efficient. At that point, the traditional liberals should take over once again. They should monitor and ensure that the programs designed and managed by the conservatives are actually meeting their desired objectives. If they are not, then both sides need to work together to determine what corrective action is required.
I believe if the left and right worked together in this manner, we would be much better off. Right now, whichever side is in control determines what they are going to shove through. At that point they often compromise in HOW it is going to be done and that is where the proverbial horse “as designed by committee” is born. The result is a program or a system that does not properly work and always runs short of money.
Therefore, I would like to say that Democrats and Republicans need to COMPLEMENT each other, not compromise with each other.