My way or the highway

Imagine for a moment that parties engaged to be married were discussing their future. One party issued an ultimatum to the other: During our marriage, you will be required to do exactly as I say, without discussion or compromise. Given such a requirement for marriage, few couples would ever tie the knot. Unfortunately, this appears to be the attitude at the congressional level of our government, especially of members of the Tea Party. Such an attitude was clearly expressed by Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party candidate who recently defeated Republican Sen. Dick Lugar in the primary election in their state. When asked about his attitude about bi-partisanship approaches to legislation, Mr. Mourdock said his attitude about bi-partisanship was that the Democrats should simply come and agree with everything the Republicans wanted.

Such an attitude is very unlikely to change the deadlock that has paralyzed the U.S. Congress for far too long. The rhetoric of campaign extremes, particularly on the conservative side, seems to attempt to make “compromise” or “moderate” dirty words. Candidates in the Republican primary appeared to want to out-conservative one another while, unfortunately, failing to advise the electorate as to what they might or might not do about jobs, the economy, flagging education and increasing attacks on the environment.

Unfortunately, too many right-wingers who carry little copies of the United States Constitution in their pockets have forgotten the lessons of our forefathers. These ideologues should revisit the book detailing how our Constitution was born titled “The Miracle at Philadelphia.” Had our forefathers carried forward the attitude of today’s politicians, the wonderful instrument known as the United States Constitution would never have been born. The history of the writing of the basic instrument of our laws is a history of compromise among people with strongly held views. It produced a foundation instrument for government that has endured longer than almost any other document known to man, with the possible exception of the Ten Commandments.

The issue of the federal deficit is a good example of why an unyielding attitude and the mantra of “no compromise” does not work. Politicians often compare government to a family and rant about the fact that families must live within their means. Any family who found themselves deeply in debt but had the opportunity to both increase their income and reduce their expenditures would most certainly adopt an approach including both.

Unfortunately, Republicans choose to follow written pledges they have given to “no tax” gurus without regard to what the future may hold or what might be the critical needs of this country. In my opinion, the future of America is certainly not just “my way” but certainly should be “our way.”

Carl Parker has practiced law in Port Arthur since 1958. He is a 1958 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and the Senate in 1976, Parker continued to practice law while writing and sponsoring hundreds of bills that became laws relating to every aspect of life in Texas, including many regarding consumer safety. His e-mail is cap1934 [at] aol [dot] com.

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