Okay, I’ve been working on several articles to get out to you all, and I apologize for the delay while I prep, fact check and otherwise try to squeeze blog writing time into a cramped schedule. Believe me, I have neither lost focus nor retired my brain to complacency in a feeling of abject disappointment with humanity. I’m still fighting, just as I keep asking you to do, I promise!
While I know the world feels surreal and in a state of free fall from common decency, we must guard ourselves from becoming the polar opposites of our rivals. What does that mean? Don’t we want to be the polar opposite of a bunch of racist, hypocritical, misogynistic bigots? Well, yes and no. We want to stand up for equality and human rights, yes, but we do not want to be the flip side of an extremist coin. We do not want to take an “our way or no way” mentality and apply it to government process. That really doesn’t work. It also only strengthens the resolve of the other side. In other words, our country should not be split between Left Twix and Right Twix. We are in control of this. We have the opportunity to bring civil discord, to change the frenzied state of our nation to one of critical thought and reason. And how do we do this? How do we become the party of reason and responsibility? Well, by BEING reasonable and responsible.
Somehow, the word ‘compromise‘ has become ugly, as though it diminishes a person’s integrity to compromise on anything. I see the populace up in arms at every turn when their representatives agree to any compromises, big or small. It is ridiculous. Guess what, that is exactly how government works and how change is accomplished. Further, when someone is seen as capable of reasonable compromise to find solutions, they carry far more weight when there is an issue they refuse to compromise on. Political compromise is not only an asset but a necessity. If the left are seen as willing to work within a realm of reasonable compromise, it exposes the extremists they are up against, who refuse any compromise at all. We can show passion without extremist orientation. We want change, no doubt, but we also know the wheels of change move more slowly than our desire for it. If it were simple, it would have already happened.
For instance, yes, everyone should have healthcare and Medicare for All is the simplest solution, since it is an existing system that works. However, if we are pragmatic, we realize it isn’t a switch we can just flip. One sixth of our economy is entrenched in healthcare and related entities such as insurance. Simply shutting that down to move to a single payor system instantly would devastate our economy and cause severe repercussions and it would take decades to recover. But does that mean the move to single payor is impossible? No. What it means is that we need people who can see a long-term objective and work towards it through a series of compromises and adjustments, capable of traversing politics like a maze to achieve an ultimate goal.
Think about this: at the onset of our nation, the only people with full rights and freedoms were white, male landowners. If you did not fit this profile you could neither vote nor be elected to office. Some white men could aspire to more than their birth by making money and becoming a landowner, but women and minority groups could not overcome their existence. They could better their situation, in some circumstances, but could never have true freedom. Even today we are still fighting for freedom that extends beyond the paper on which it is written and into the beating heart of reality.
Where we can make small concessions to help move society forward, in exchange for opposition concessions, we may move slowly, but we progress. It keeps us rational and focused, therefore, when it is time to refuse concession, when something tests our values, as we have found all too often with the current administration, we can stand firm, and that stance holds more meaning.
Take a look at the recent government shut down. Democrats are being heavily criticized for agreeing to end the shut down without legislation for DREAMers. Now, legislation for DREAMers is extremely important, but at the same time, a lot of people’s lives were disrupted by the shut down, many employees stood to lose compensation they need, and not the kinds of government employees who are already wealthy, but hard-working, middle class, paycheck to paycheck people. Now, if the shutdown was based on the actual issues of funding the government, temporarily or permanently, then continuing it would be justified. However, we need to move our government away from quid pro quo politics on unrelated matters. Democrats did not “cave” as many left-leaning critics have claimed. They moved in the best interest of the people. Any DREAMer Act needs to be a part of immigration legislation, as that is exactly what it involves: immigration laws. Holding the lives of innocent people hostage to get what you want is neither good policy nor the moral high ground. It creates more of a negative impact than any positive contribution. We do not want to be the extremist Left, throwing temper tantrums and fits trying to get our way. We want to project a solid, steady core and an ability to set aside personal arguments to work in the best interest of our nation.
In the end, what I want to convey is not a message that we should compromise our values, but that we should not overly criticize compromise which helps lead us to a better place, even if a bit more slowly than we’d like. We must embrace the art of negotiation where ideas differ and be prepared to embrace policies that help our country, no matter where they originate.
So, yes, protest. Yes, demand meaningful DREAMer legislation. Yes, stand against poor policies which take our country backwards. Yes, insist upon equality and better stewardship of our planet. Yes, fight for universal healthcare and safety nets for the elderly, sick and poor. Yes, yes, yes. Do not stop letting your voice be heard. We absolutely must fight against the racist oligarchy in order to move our nation into the next generation of responsible prosperity. Just don’t forget that in reality many of those changes come slow, built upon the compromises of those we elect. Vote at every opportunity to install representatives who will work diligently towards these goals. Compromise is not failure.
Continue to fight and resist and make your voice heard and, most of all, stay positive. We get nowhere fighting amongst ourselves.
We are One Woman, One World.
Ann Lavendar Truong
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