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December 19, 2013

Down This Rocky Road

Chris Cavey

Our nation was built on principle; but our Constitution was forged out of compromise. Our Founding Fathers were political experts in the art of compromise and – because of that – created the greatest governing document man has ever known. Today that art is gone.


I am sick to death from the bemoaning of my friends about congressional leaders seeking a "compromise," tired of hearing statements insinuating our Founding Fathers would have never compromised and stood firm on their convictions. Untrue!


The Constitutional Convention was only about compromise. Men coming together to figure out how 13 autonomous states, with 13 different governing bodies and 13 different local economies could come together in one thought. In addition, they overcame the vast differences of local culture and religion, too!


During the summer of 1787 there were heated debates and arguments, proposals from different states, delegates who walked out and those who refused to attend. Everybody had an opinion on equal representation, term limits, powers of the executive, and the slave trade. Most of the delegates were directed by their state legislatures not to compromise, but to protect the interests of their home state.


Yet they forged ahead through this vast debate looking for common ground to govern a new nation. Today not only is compromise for the good of governing our nation a lost art, but it has become a dirty deed. No one wants to work for the good of the many out of fear someone will point and accuse them of losing their principles.


I expect my representatives to be of principle. They should have a guiding sense of requirements and obligations of right conduct; one that they professed while campaigning for their office. They should work with diligence to maintain such principles. However, they are elected and have sworn an oath to protect and defend my country and its Constitution. Partisan bickering, injuring our economy through bureaucratic regulation and nonsensically folly such as shutting our government down is not protecting or defending – it is childish.


One of the first life lessons I was taught was by my Mom countless times telling me to "Play nice with your brother!" I learned to share and taught my children to do the same. We didn't lose our principles when we shared or took turns at bat playing ball in the front yard. Someone always won and someone always lost. There were times when tears were shed, but we lived another day to play again. It was compromise.


Didn't the members of Congress have Moms too? Was I the only one to get a "whipping" when I didn't get along with my brothers or the kids in school? Why don't they "play nice?" Why has blatant partisan politics become our form of governing?


I contend that a big problem is listening. Throughout my entire insurance career the best skill I developed and the hardest one for me to learn was listening. When you truly listen – with the mission of problem solving – you can often travel the road to agreement through compromise. Most in the political world are deaf partisans. They hear little outside their own voices.


It is time for Congress to grow up. Obamacare, like it or not, needs to be dealt with. It is actuarially unsound and it is doubtful that it will effectively work from a practical standpoint. Polls show the bulk of citizens feel they were sold a partisan "pig in a poke" and do not want to lose their freedom of choice when it comes to their personal healthcare. Everyone knows it will soon cause an economic crisis if it is not fixed, re-booted or totally deleted.


Somewhere the listening needs to start. Somewhere compromise of the 1787 magnitude needs to take place. Somewhere in our nation's capitol there should be those who have the guiding sense of right principles. Somewhere we should have those entrusted to govern seeking to have similar status of our Founding Fathers.




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