Letter to the Editor: Compromise important to Constitution

Published 9:26 am Thursday, November 18, 2021

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To the editor:
It was recently announced a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package was passed by Congress. While this bill was initiated by Democratic legislators, 13 Republicans supported the bill with six Democrats voting against it. My reason for commenting is not directed toward the content of this bill, but rather the commentary following its passage.
The first bit of news reported was not an informative breakdown of the substance of the bill and how it will affect our lives, but rather a threat that the 13 Republicans who voted for it will be targeted for defeat in their respective upcoming elections … by Republicans (in the primaries). They are viewed as traitors to the Republican Party.
Does it have to be this way? Does the party system require absolute alignment from all members? Is it possible that political parties can have different views without sacrificing common ground as Americans?
I applaud the passage of any legislation that is seen as bipartisan. In today’s polarized political environment, compromise is often viewed as an unforgiving abandonment of principles and party, and those attempting to compromise are branded as traitors. However, we should acknowledge that our form of government is intentionally dependent on compromise – it is what makes this country great and has been sustained for almost 250 years. The Constitution and the branches of government were all formed out of compromise and designed to promote compromise. History teaches us that when differing parties come together, compromise may be required to achieve the best results. It is not a weakness, but a way for adults to empathize with others, show respect for others’ opinions, and the realization that we may have to recognize the needs of others to attain our own critical needs (but not all needs).
Although I do not agree with their stance on all issues, I have come to admire these 13 Republicans (and yes, the six Democrats) along with Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney who challenge their party leaders. Some may argue they are self-promoting and not seeing the broader benefits of their party’s ideological positions. However, I want to believe they bring independent judgement and discernment, a desire to represent their constituents and the fortitude to challenge possible ethical violations.
I applaud these party dissenters and encourage more politicians to follow their lead. Ultimately, this will lead to compromises that have broad appeal we can all accept versus the polarizing and often unattainable win-lose outcomes that result without bi-partisan support. I plan to reward the legislators that put the interests of their constituents ahead of those misguided members of their party focused solely on division.
Brian McIlwain, Mocksville