‘Compromise’ is not a dirty word

Published 11:45 pm Friday, May 18, 2012

When did compromise become so out of vogue?

Diplomacy, once a subtle art, has devolved into nothing more than a macho show of strength.

Politicians, it seems, have come to believe their job is to stand their ground, unwavering, never giving an inch. This has long been the norm on the national level, but this attitude has been steadily trickling down to the state and local levels, as well.

At the recent Louisiana Press Association convention in Marksville, former Gov. Edwin Edwards was the guest speaker. During his speech, he said that although he was and is not eligible to vote in either election, he would have voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but would not do so in 2012. Regardless of what one thinks of his politics, it was refreshing to hear a politician not adhering strictly to party lines. Of course, he is also not running for office. New Orleans Republican Congressman Joseph Cao also bucked the partisan trend, and he was quickly swept out of office, so perhaps fickle voters are to blame for the current predicament.

Whatever the cause, an unwavering attitude is becoming the norm in other areas, as well. Contract negotiations between the New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees have been at a standstill for weeks, and neither side seems willing to budge. While most still consider some kind of agreement a foregone conclusion, each passing day deprives an already shaky organization of some much-needed stability.

The ability to compromise was once considered paramount to politicians and others whose job duties include negotiating. These days, however, many, especially those in power, seem to view it as a sign of weakness. But as has been evident in the government over the past few years, an inability to compromise produces not the desired results but no results.

Without compromise, there are no winners, and unfortunately, all too often it is everyone not involved in the negotiation that are the losers.