Compromise is a funny thing. In politics, you’re asked to compromise on everything: on candidates, on talking points, and most often, on policy. Everything is a negotiation and everything is a chess move. There’s a method to all of this madness.
We’re forced to compromise because of the apathy and the money it takes to win an election. A government no longer run by the people has left us grasping for anything similar to what we used to know and accepting the bits and pieces of something that is ‘good’. When we consider the welfare state, social programs, the lack of enforcement of immigration laws, the overreach, and the student loan bubble, it leaves us wondering ‘What is left to compromise?
I take a lot of heat for my idealism. A lot. Probably daily someone shames me for it. If someone dislikes me, it is mostly likely due to the fact that they see me as unwilling to move and my willingness to fight you until we’re both blue in the face. (That, or I previously wrote a blog about them. #sorrynotsorry) I had a discussion with someone yesterday about principles and ‘appealing to the masses’. It’s difficult to appeal to everyone when you’re principled. People who are liked by everyone are probably selling out somewhere along the line. It just isn’t possible in life, but especially in politics. But what about appealing to everyone, having principles and somehow implementing it?
I present to you this beautiful chart I crafted on a paper towel:
“Jessica’s Scale of Feasibility”
I fully recognize that I’m out there dangling on my own (or with a small minority) on A LOT of issues, but utopia and perfection start the conversation on a less complicated platform. Imagine if we began every policy conversation, partisan or not, right in the middle. There’s a reason lawyers aim high in settlement negotiations. There’s a reason Haliegh’s Hope Act (HB 885) should have covered more ground in the initial draft. There’s a reason a comprehensive gun law has all kinds of bells and whistles in it before it gets to a vote. There’s a reason candidates ask for more money than they believe they will obtain. You ask for that $1,000 donation in hopes of getting $500. You don’t ask for $500 because you need $500. You’ll end up with $250 almost every time.
Idealism presents wiggle room for improvement. We should all strive to be idealistic on at least one issue. It keeps the purity. And we have to acknowledge that on one issue –just one- we expect nothing less than perfection from start to finish. We acknowledge that progress isn’t sufficient. The quick-to-bloom rose may smell better but cabbage makes better soup.
In a day when our policy is lacking principle, it’s even more important that we look to people to represent those principles whether in elected office or just in those pesky activists. That’s where the principle will be restored. So whether you’re consistently principled, or consistently inconsistent, be principled. Idealistic in principle and practical in application.
“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” – George Carlin