When I was a kid growing up with my twin brother and an older brother, the most important word in my parents vocabulary was compromise. This was particularly true when my twin and I had a disagreement. After all, while he is older by seven minutes and wanted to consider himself my “big brother”, he wasn’t. Sharing a room , as well as friends, toys and later on a car, required that we either learn to compromise or kill each other. Since neither of us were fond of pain, compromise seemed to be the better choice. While we didn’t always agree, we found peaceful, nonviolent ways to resolve our differences, at least most of the time. You would think that every member of the Senate and the House grew up as an”only child” and never had to compromise or resolve a disagreement with a sibling.
Why do so many of our elected officials have such difficulty bringing life’s basic lessons to work with them? It is clear that they have not learned to share. After all, they are unwilling to enable all Americans to “share the wealth” and opportunities that this nation provides. They haven’t learned to share the security that would be provided through the gun legislation that has been discussed which would provide a greater degree of protection than ever before. After all, the Constitution seeks to protect life and liberty as well as gun ownership. They haven’t learned to share the joys and benefits of marriage with those who might seek a partner of the same sex. They are not willing to share the right to vote and seek to restrict it in a variety of ways. They are not willing to share the availability of healthcare, and try to repeal or diminish Obamacare at every turn.
Sharing requires that we acknowledge the validity of another individual’s or group’s claim. It requires that we respect the rights of others to live life with the same opportunities and rights as we do. It requires that we see all as equal to us and to one another. Only then can we acknowledge their claim as valid. However, if we seek to protect the rights and privileges of the few to the detriment of the many, we are selfish elitists. How can such elitists “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” of democracy and at the same time do the bidding of the narrow interests groups they are truly serving?
Are those that represent you in the Senate and the House bringing life’s basic lessons to work? Why not?