The popular media often lauds the idea of compromise and bipartisanship. Hey, even Jon Stuart has made fun of progressive Democrats for not “compromising” on cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But our elected officials and media seem to ignore that the compromise is a political tool — and as such, it’s value rests on the use to which it is put. It’s easy to forget amidst the hubbub about the federal budget negotiations that we’re talking about a document that will have a real impact on the well being of millions of Americans. For this reason, the federal budget is also a moral document that reveals our priorities as a people. And while people tend to falsely elevate the importance of compromise in the political process, everyone knows that there is nothing particularly laudable about “compromising one’s morals.” Our progressive political leaders would do best to keep this in mind as they think about what proposals to put on the bargaining table.
For more on the value of compromise, check out this piece I’ve written on the Truth-Out blog.