While on the campaign trail last year with a friend, his opponent made it clear that he was a man that could reach across the aisle and compromise. Thereafter, a tea party leader in the room commented: “You mean like John McCain?” The tea party leader meant it facetiously and sadly the candidate was obviously befuddled by the remark – believing his propensity to compromise was a badge of honor. My friend humorously remarked:
The only time I’ll reach across the aisle is to drag liberals over to our side.
While his remark earned him a chuckle or two, the philosophical contrast is startling.
Compromise v. leadership
In this case, the opposition – a man I’ll call “the Compromiser” – had a 20 plus year career in New Jersey’s statehouse. And he was absolutely right. His career was filled with compromise after compromise – to the point where his Republican Party affiliation was indistinguishable from most state Democrats. In the topsy-turvy Alice in Wonderland-type of world we live in today, compromise has become a peculiar virtue. With the debt crisis along with its exorbitant tax increases looming over our heads, I can almost hear the Mad Hatter scampering through the halls of Congress singing a Very Unhappy New Year to you – to you. While learning to work with those of opposing views is necessary in a country as divided as ours, compromise has become a convenient excuse for lack of leadership. Its “easy way out” approach often represents cowardice and not nobility. In the Compromiser’s case, the fruition of his 20-year practice of compromise left him with only one distinguishing political attribute – he is a good friend of Governor Christie. If this is the best a 20-year political career produced, then the people who elected and re-elected the Compromiser for over two decades bear more of the blame than he does.
Compromise in history
It is also true that there is nothing new under the sun. During our Constitutional Convention, our Founders compromised. These men were extraordinary leaders who knew the difference between good government and bad, and yet when the ratification of the Constitution was threatened by the southern slave-owning states, they compromised by counting the slaves as 3/5 of a person. The southern states wore them down and the Constitution was ratified. But this compromise led to our Civil War, the scars of which still haven’t healed today.
Reagan also compromised. He called it “amnesty” and today we have an illegal immigration problem that is devastating many of our border states.
Compromise as the way of death
The great fiscal compromise of 12/12 may be worse. Our economy may not be able to recover and it may lead to the death of our nation. While the road to hell may indeed be paved with good intentions, surely its curb is lined with compromise. I can’t help but think about the verse:
There is a way that seems right to man. But its end is the way of death. [Proverbs 14:12]
I find myself quoting this verse more and more every day as I see our beloved Constitution being torn apart – all in the name of compassion and compromise.
To be sure, there are things that can be compromised that do not tarnish basic principles, but these things are usually of minor importance. On the important issues, such as financial negotiations that will impact this country, leadership is the only virtue that will protect our future. Unfortunately, leaders are far and few in between in Washington D.C.
Leadership is the problem
What this nation needs in D.C. is the same thing we need in our personal lives – leadership. Leadership requires knowing the difference between right and wrong and being able to persuade others to do what is right. Unfortunately, those in D.C. who understand that they were elected to “do the right thing” and possess the desire to persuade are often branded as “obstructionists” and ostracized from negotiations. This leaves us with cowards and wimps negotiating on our behalf. Their best skill is often knowing how to protect their power base – even if it means throwing us under the bus. With the help of the liberal media, they are also very skilled at making us believe everything they do is in our own best interest.
Of course in today’s politically correct world, knowing what is right and wrong is a noteworthy feat in and of itself. Our personal lives are not much different than our political ones. Our marriages suffer from lack of leadership as well. Emasculated men often abandon their families and those who try to be the head of their households often turn into tyrants. On the other hand, so-called “liberated women” often conflate submission with subservience and have forgotten how to support their mates while maintaining self-worth. I fear that as we continue to value compromise over leadership that both our families and government will continue their decay into the abyss.
It should be no surprise to us that compromisers who lack leadership skills fill the halls of government when lack of proper leadership fills our personal households. In a republican form of government, our government reflects who we are as a people and we ultimately get what we deserve. Fortunately, there is still a God in heaven and our Constitution still exists, so we have hope. But I urge all – pray for leadership and pray that our elected officials don’t use compromise as an excuse for lack of leadership. And while you’re at it, pray that we figure it out in our personal lives as well.
Reprinted from Mychal Massie’s The Daily Rant.