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Editor’s note: This opinion is part of a point/counterpoint opinion feature about partisanship. Read the counterpoint, “Red vs. Blue” by CU Independent Staff Writer Amanda Moutinho.
The problem with the idea of bipartisanship is compromise doesn’t create progress.
It’s nice to pretend that we could live in a world where everyone could work together to create real solutions, but that world is a myth. The reality is we need politicians who will not only say what they stand for when they campaign, but who will actually enact legislation to make it happen.
Obama wasted months trying to get Republicans to work with Democrats on health care and it was never going to happen, and when it came down to it, he made the right choice; he pushed it through.
The reality of compromise is that you end up with solutions that are worse for everyone as a whole. We like to think of it as this nice thing we all should do, like sharing your crayons in kindergarten. But the reality is messier; the reality gets down to the definition of the word.
According to dictionary.com, the first definition of compromise is, “A settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.”
What that means is no real progress is made; it means a country that can’t truly move forward, because instead of leaping and bounding forward, instead of dramatic progress, we see tiny inches of movement, where we backslide every other move.
With real action we can move forward. If we take real action, sometimes we will move forward and sometimes back. We will make mistakes, of that there is a certainty, but when we make them we’ll be able to actually learn, change and adapt to them. Sometimes you have to make a mistake in order to really learn and move forward from it.
I believe that our politicians should stay true to their word; Obama should repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, because he said he would. Politicians need to be more than pretty words. They need strong actions in the direction they promised.
And only from actually enacting serious changes will we as citizens be able to really know what improves our society and what does not. If we had fully passed health care, with all the bells and whistles on it, instead of pairing it down to tepid water, then we could really evaluate in time what was an improvement and what was worse. It would allow us to better evaluate the party and politicians we support, and truly hold them accountable for where we end up.
The bottom line is that with compromise, with cutesy attempts at bipartisanship and friendship brings a stagnant nation, one that lacks the ability to dramatically leap forward, one way or the other.
Compromise kills progress and progress is what our country really needs.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Editor Ellie Bean at Beanee@colorado.edu.