Saturday, September 29, 2012

Beginning Examples

I have no time to blog in the coming week, so here a thought as I drop out: Someone asked in response to the last post if voting for a compromiser isn't the same as voting for nothing. Don't we have to stand on principle?

Yes we do stand on principle. That was one of my points in the first post in this series. Everyone should be free to speak on the basis of their own principles -- to speak freely and to be heard. But we have conflicting principles, and we have to find ways to work together.

Example: Some want politicians who hold to the principle of a balanced budget. No compromise allowed! But even business people who are the most fiscally conservative are willing to run a deficit if conditions require it. They know that cash flow is as important as the annual bottom line. And families are willing to take on long-term debt to buy a house. I believe (with the fiscal conservatives) that balanced budgets are basic to our national health. But when someone signs a pledge to never under any circumstances vote for a measure outside of that principle, we get the gridlock we see in Washington. Sometimes compromise is necessary.

Example: I am a pacifist (I prefer to say "non-resistant" or that I hold the peace position taught by Jesus). I am predisposed to oppose any military action of any kind. Ever. If I make my principle a hill to die on, I also use my peace principle to create conflict. Sometimes compromise is necessary.

Example: Proponents of abortion on demand ("pro-choice" to use their own language) support measures in the Access to Health Care bill that compel doctors and nurses to do abortions, regardless of their own religious convictions. The refusal to compromise the principle of choice becomes destructive of religious freedom. Sometimes compromise is necessary.

Hold on to your principles. We are lost without them. We can't think at all clearly unless we have and live by principles. But listen to the other: He/she is also a person of good will with real principles. We have to work together to make our country work.

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