I was listening to the radio this morning and heard some of the discussion about the “tea party” rally last Thurs on the Mall. According to the report about a half dozen members of Congress also clamored for microphone and television attention. One member of Congress (I forget who) said that his colleagues often asked about him compromising to which he quoted something about Abraham Lincoln planting his feet and standing his ground. So just for fun I looked up the quote which is:
Be sure you plant your feet in the right place, then stand firm. – Abraham Lincoln
While looking through the quotes, and there are a lot of great Lincoln quotes, I also found the following:
Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough. – Abraham Lincoln
I’ve heard this issue of using the word “compromise” before, on talking head political shows and so forth. Somehow the Republicans and their tea-people are twisting the true meaning of “compromise”. When everyone walks away from a negotiating table unhappy, you’ve probably got a decent compromise.
The opposite of compromise is conflict. Seems to me that when parties compromise they aren’t necessarily “capitulating” as characterized by the tea-people, they are trying to make the world function better. “Compromise”, IMHO, is a necessary evil if we’re going to live in a civil society, and isn’t a dirty word.