Home / POLITICS / DONNIE JOHNSTON: Compromise is a forgotten skill in politics | Columns

DONNIE JOHNSTON: Compromise is a forgotten skill in politics | Columns

It amazes me that all the problems in this country were not solved long ago.

Since I was a small child, every politician who has run for office has professed to have all the answers. All the people had to do was elect him (or her) and our problems would be solved.

Every year, candidates promise to slash taxes, improve education and deliver us from all evil. If that’s the case, then why do we have higher taxes, kids who play with fidget spinners in class and shootings every night?

I watched a commercial for one of the gubernatorial candidates the other day and this law-enforcement guy kept telling me that his man was going to get tough on crime.

How many times have we heard that before? From watching the campaign ad, you’d think that, if elected governor, this guy would be out in the streets every day with a gun and a nightstick. Good luck with that.

I have seen quite a few governors come and go and I have yet to hear of one walking a beat at 2 a.m. in a crime-infested part of town. Once in office, these folks get tough on crime from the dining room table of the Governor’s Mansion.

Candidates promise the moon, but seldom deliver. Take that wall along the Mexican border, for example. Has anyone seen the first brick laid yet? No, and you probably never will.

What floors me is that some voters actually believe all the promises thrown around during a campaign. If my guy gets elected, he will change the world! You’ll see. He’ll get the job done.

Unfortunately, that is seldom true. If a candidate is elected to a legislative body, he quickly finds out that he is only one vote and one vote is a majority only in a dictatorship.

Governors have only so much power and can accomplish little without the backing of their state’s legislature. Even the president of the United States has a limited amount of power, as Donald Trump is finding out.

Without the cooperation of Congress, nothing gets done. And if you try to bypass the legislature, there is always the judicial branch ready to put you in your place. It is that old system of checks and balances that our forefathers put in place to protect us from tyrants.

The best candidate is not the one who professes to know it all and promises everything, but rather the one who is most willing to compromise. Our governments—local, state and federal—are fueled by compromise.

Unfortunately that’s something that Trump, the two major political parties and the loonies running around yelling “not my president” don’t seem to understand.

Without compromise, little gets done in a democracy, as we are finding out. Politicians compromise for the good of the people—all of the people, not just for those who belong to their party.

So don’t vote for the guy who promises to change the world. World-changers seldom make such declarations. They just quietly go out and do it.

Vote for the man or woman who is willing to compromise, the person who will put the best interests of the people above those of his party. These are the people who get things done.

Those who refuse to compromise usually refuse to even consider opposing viewpoints because they have heads like rocks. It is their way or no way and that kind of an attitude just doesn’t cut it in the legislative arena, as is evidenced by the perpetual gridlock on Capitol Hill.

Just once, I’d like to hear a candidate be honest and say that he didn’t know all the answers, but if elected would be willing to work with both parties in an effort to figure things out.

But I guess honesty doesn’t work in politics. Politicians are kind of like TV weathermen, who promise it will be sunny tomorrow and then hope the people won’t remember their forecast when it rains.

When pondering who you will vote for, you should remember that no candidate or party has all the answers. If they did, all this country’s problems would have been solved long ago.

Democracy is all about compromise and the best compromiser is usually the best candidate.


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