I have come to the conclusion that grey is the best color in the crayon box. It represents what we all should strive for...compromise. I learned early on that there is rarely a black or white answer to anything, yet too many people believe that their way is the only way. As I mentioned last week, that is no way to run a country, and that is no way to run your life. My life as a daughter, wife, mother and teacher was spent honing the art of compromise.
I would coach my debate team to always spend as much time researching the " other " side as they did researching their chosen viewpoint. In fact, when they entered a Lincoln/Douglas competition, they would know their topic a week in advance, but they wouldn't know which side that they were debating until the competition began. I am proud to say that every one of them turned into excellent debaters, but more impressively, they turned into fair minded thinkers who listen as well as they speak.
Too many people see life's journeys as straight lines. They will start at point A and travel to point B without veering from the path that they decide is the correct one. How sad to live one's life with blinders on as you stare straight ahead. There are so many ways to end up at point B, and so many experiences to encounter if you can only compromise along the way.
Child raising was one big compromise, since Art and I came from families with two different ways of doing things. When he was ten he would take a trolley to the elevated train (Philadelphia's "subway" ) and the train to a destination where he would meet his ten year old cousin. Together they would hop another train to go fishing or visit a museum. When I was ten my parents wouldn't let me cross the street alone. As you can imagine, this lead to quite a few conversations between us, but I believe it led to a safer and happier upbringing for our children.
Our discussions now are often political in nature, and my ability to understand both sides tend to frustrate Arthur. His beliefs are strong with little room for compromise. In almost every instance my beliefs match his, but I do see where the other side is coming from and understand their frustrations too. For example, while the idea of a wall is abhorrent to me, I understand that living near a border that is constantly being breached is scary, and desperation drives us to things that might seem like overkill to those who live a safe distance away.
That is why we need level headed politicians who govern from a place divorced of personal feelings. They need to be level headed and make decisions that serve in the best interest of their constituents instead of the lobbyists who support their next run for office. I have come to believe that our senators and representatives should be eligible to serve us for one six year term only. Six years gives them plenty of time to accomplish their goals without the distraction of another election. They won't need lobbyist's bribes, and they won't make decisions based on what will garner more votes.
Once we get our leaders back in the mode of working for the good of all people rather than the good of their select voting groups, perhaps both parties can use compromise to attain the goals that our forefathers had in mind.
My two reviewed books this week center around wives who need to get away from their husbands. Both Marianne, from Nina George's The Little French Bistro, and Alexa, from Deborah Hawkins' Dark Moon: A Legal Thriller, realize compromise is not the answer for them, and they each choose a different method of escape.
As always, complete reviews of both books follow this blog.