The lost art of compromise

Published 7:49 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I keep wondering what would happen if we started identifying for ourselves what we want to see happen with regards to government, society and our personal lives instead of railing against other people’s views.

Things like: I want more fiscal responsibility in the government. I want all Americans to have the basics. I want to feel safe. Etcetera. Add to that, I would hope we could call each other by our given names, instead of names meant to pigeonhole, discount or denigrate.

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I keep wondering what would happen if we let go of the idea that “We” know what other people are thinking better than they do themselves. We attribute motives to them that have way more to do with us than the people we are viewing.

It takes time and patience to get to know another person or culture. And sometimes, in our busy world, we think we can bypass the human part of it on the way to something else. Sometimes, we tell ourselves that we will get back to it later, and that time may fail to come before we are facing a crisis on every side.

I have note cards with the Chinese word for “crisis” beautifully done in calligraphy on the front. On the back, “crisis” is described as having “two parts: ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity.’” That seems to be pretty much where we are.

I keep wondering, what would happen if we built a country for which we negotiated, coming to decisions with give and take, instead of trying to beat the other side over the head with our own views.


Jo Weaver