Wandschneider: Congress, president must discover power of compromise

Jamie Wandschneider

“Unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

During George Washington’s farewell address, he warns that political parties will make our nation weaker not stronger.

He wasn’t very far off.

To be clear on one thing, this column isn’t intended to point fingers, but to talk about the entire government as a whole.

When asked where I stand on the political spectrum, I respond by saying that I don’t follow either party. I have liberal views on certain issues and conservative views on others. When it comes to the different elections, I side with the candidate that I feel will best serve our country.

Both parties are quite proud of their beliefs; which is a good thing. If they weren’t passionate about their beliefs then what is the point in having the party? But lately they have been getting too proud, which has led to a nasty streak of extreme stubbornness.

This stubbornness is overshadowing one of the key elements in any collaboration: the ability to compromise. This doesn’t mean they need to drop ideas, but they must try and find a middle ground where both can agree. Both parties want completely different things, but neither is willing to give in a little to the other party’s demands in order to get what they want. By not being able to compromise, laws don’t get passed and the whole process turns out to be a waste of time.

For an easier perspective of how the government is acting, picture our government as a bird. Like all birds, it has two wings. There is a left wing (representing by the Democratic Party) and a right wing (representing the Republican Party).

If our government is dominated by the left wing, our bird will not be able to fly, for it only has one wing. Same thing goes for having only a right winged government. Currently, our government has a mixture of both right and left winged members.

Now our bird has potential to fly and be successful. But if the two wings, or parties, are not working together, the bird won’t be able to get off the ground. This is what our government is experiencing. What we need is to have the wings working together and flap simultaneously. This will allow our bird to fly and be successful.

Currently, the American people are suffering the consequences as a result of the lack of compromise. The government shutdown has affected all in some way shape or form. Americans employed by the government aren’t getting paid, families of soldiers who have died overseas aren’t receiving benefits, government websites have been shutdown, and even the “panda cam” has been turned off.

If the shutdown continues, we will feel more of the consequences.

Now how, exactly, did our government get like this?

Every year, our government has to put together a spending plan that allows us to spend money. It relies on an agreement between both the president and the members of Congress. As a motivational tool, the threat of a government shutdown lingers if a plan has not been created by the set date. The shutdown will continue until an agreement has been made and the president has signed the spending bill.

Currently in office, we have a Democratic president and Senate at odds with a Republican House of Representatives. Each has entirely different views on what should go into the budget. Congress proposed a spending plan that would maintain our country’s spending levels, excluded funding for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Since the Democrats are pushing funding for this program, the spending plan did not get passed for the next fiscal year. Time ran out, and with no spending plan, funding was cut from different government programs.

How does our government solve this problem and prevent future shutdowns?

Simply by trying to find a middle ground with each other. This doesn’t mean that either party needs to move right or left, but to try and see the other’s point of view.

Take Obamacare, for example, instead of the Republican Party completely shutting it out, maybe they can try to tweak it to fit their beliefs a little bit more. With that being said, the Democratic Party would need to agree if they wanted it passed. The same thing would go if the roles were reversed.

That is what the power of compromise would do.