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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 20, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsElephant in the Room

What happened to compromise?

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have changed the landscape of this election. Extremism has replaced moderatism. Candidates who even hint that they may agree with the other side are shunned. Policy debates have turned into personal attacks. This isn’t politics as usual.

I believe in limited government and an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. I believe in the power of the free market and recognize that while capitalism may not be perfect, it is better than any other economic system. With all of these strong beliefs and convictions, however, I also have the ability to compromise. And this is what is missing with both parties. We used to work together to find common ground. Now, we label those who disagree with us as bad people. We used to give people hope. Now, we scare them.

It is time for a reassessment of our values as a country. As the two major political parties drift further away, we need to change the way we interact with each other. Political partisanship will not change overnight, but we can all do our part.

It is not enough to tolerate each other. We should want to surround ourselves with people who have opinions different from our own. Listening to other views helps us become better people. So talk with your friends whom you disagree with, and instead of ending the conversation in name calling, try to identify one point you can agree on. We have more in common than we realize. Recognize that your own views and the opposing views of your acquaintances can both be based in love.

For example, a liberal friend may think raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do. I disagree because I believe this will cause more unemployment. My liberal friend and I may disagree on policy, but we both form our decisions on concern for others.

No political ideology is correct about every policy. There is not always a right or a wrong answer. We need to listen to and understand why others possess differing views. We need to work in unison with those we disagree with. I believe that together, we can live in a society where policy disagreements are not name-calling contests. I believe that together, we can build a better America through thoughtful discussions. I believe that together, we can make compromise cool again.

Kyle Stewart can be reached at kstewart1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @KyleStew107