Excluding during the Civil War era, our country has never been closer to the brink of bursting at the seams with political divisiveness as it is today. This column isn’t meant to advocate for a particular political ideology or to throw shade at certain political organizations that push for the foundations of their beliefs.
Rather, its purpose is to try and make sure you understand what you actually believe.
We all have our beliefs, but the success of our civilization relies on compromising sometimes – a technique which we have effectively lost nowadays because of divisiveness. In a democracy, having your particular ideology run the entire show is impossible.
There’s a quote from Ludwig Erhard, a German politician during the 1960s, that I believe ties this all together. He said, “A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.”
The fate of our government at this time relies on this spirit of compromise coming back. This isn’t to say I’m predicting our government will fail. Rather, it’s just to say that if some of us want progress, some of us want to uphold tradition and some of us don’t care, then we need to bring back a reality of compromise seen previously in American history that can recognize these viewpoints.
The first important political compromise in U.S. history was the “Great Compromise” for congressional representation, in which the House and the Senate were created to represent small and large states equally. Though they had different ideas, the delegates came together to make the compromise happen, and without that there might never have been a Constitution.
Fast forward to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, strongly supported the 1964 bill to dramatically strengthen the Civil Rights Act of 1875. In a show of compromise, he met with Republicans to push for the bill, which eventually became law after President Lyndon Johnson’s continued fight following Kennedy’s assassination.
There are countless other scenes of compromise throughout our government’s history. These people knew what they believed about the issues but also believed in the importance of a unified country.
Take the time to research your values, your party and what your party truly upholds, then research what the other parties stand for in their own documents. Next, reread the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights along with it.
When we understand our political differences, we can also understand that there is more than one way to fix a problem.
Accept the fear of not knowing enough about a topic rather than regurgitating strings of information from unverified sources. Research whatever you believe, proclaim it and ultimately be willing to compromise for the sake of this country.
It may seem easier to beat around the bush when addressing a problem, but to effect real change, one must strike a problem at its the roots. It won’t be easy, but this has to be done and will take all of us.
Jonathan Lovelady is a junior economics major from Los Angeles.