“Compromise is not about losing.  It is about deciding that the other person has just as much right to be happy with the end result as you do.”

Donna Martini

The flames of partisan tribalism have infected politics since the 1800 election between Federalist John Adams and his Democrat-Republican rival Thomas Jefferson.  While tensions between political parties have ebbed and flowed, more often than not they have managed to co-exist as loyal opposition to one another, ultimately moving America toward its ideal of becoming “a more perfect union”.

Unfortunately, over the past three decades, with two brief exceptions (the 1995 political détente between Speaker Gingrich and President Clinton and the unity immediately following the 9/11 attacks), the leadership and radical wings of the Republican and Democratic parties, inflamed by cable network talking heads, claims questioning our basic institutions and more recently conspiracy theorists, have cast those in the “other” party as un-American, racist, and even an enemy of the people when policy differences occur.

Too many members of Congress, while they may privately agree, are unwilling to take principled stands where controversial legislation originating from the other party is concerned, even in cases where overwhelming supported by their own constituents.

Childish name-calling, “dead on arrival” and making someone a “one-term president” have become the catch phrases de jour, drowning out attempts to find common ground and seek compromises on such fundamental and important issues as immigration, health care, voting rights, the environment, climate change, gun legislation and justice reform.

Perhaps, while Republicans and Democrats have significantly different visions on comprehensive immigration reform, they could strike a modest deal where in exchange for providing a path to citizenship for those currently protected under DACA additional miles of border wall would be built. Those on both sides of the political spectrum could claim victory without acrimony.

Rather than digging their heels in and “demanding” all-or-nothing results, the president and 535 members of Congress should spend less time posturing in front of the cameras and more time respectfully hearing from, talking to and working with not against one another.  A continued unwillingness to compromise must no longer be an option.

Wishful idealism?  Yes, until Americans expect and demand no less from them!