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I’ve considered myself a political moderate ever since I voted in my first election in November 1976. Now, I acknowledge that I usually vote for one party’s candidates because that party’s perspectives and policies for the most part align better with mine than those of the other party. But I’ve always wanted the elected representatives […] Read More

When it comes down to actually doing it, the devil is in the details. This seems to be the central challenge amid a lot of talk in Washington, D.C., these days about the importance of compromise as well as assurances on many sides that it is necessary and possible. Admittedly, compromise is difficult. It involves […] Read More

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield coined the phrase, “You don’t have to be wrong for me to be right,” in his masterful book on radical inclusion. In Western culture, we have decided that the only way to solve complicated issues is through rigorous debate in which there are clear winners and losers. This dichotomy has deepened in […] Read More

Reaction to the nuclear agreement between Iran and the “P5+1” – the U.S., U.K., France, China and Russia, plus Germany, the permanent member nations on the U.N. Security Council – has been swift and diverse. Almost simultaneous with its announcement, several prominent Republican leaders, including a few 2016 presidential candidates, denounced it, reflecting a mostly […] Read More

Last week’s election results are now clearer. The political extremes will likely be meaner. The political center will likely be thinner. The prospects for civility and the common good will likely be bleaker. The potential for positive church witness and work couldn’t be better. First, a word about our context. Alan Grayson, the rhetorical bomb-throwing […] Read More

Steve Inskeep interviewed Prof. Shankar Vedantam on NPR recently about compromise.¬† Studies show that Americans have ambivalent feelings about compromise in politics.¬†They vote for people who say they won’t compromise their values, but they are disappointed when those they elect fail to compromise in order to pass legislation. If one reads the Constitution of the […] Read More

Editor’s note: The column below is excerpted from the Rosh Hashanah sermon by Rabbi Fred Guttman at Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, N.C. This past summer during the debt crisis, I happened to hear Jackson Browne’s classic song “Running on Empty.” I asked myself whether we as a nation are “running on empty.” The answer was […] Read More

Americans favor compromise from their elected leaders in Washington, D.C., according to a new Gallup poll. “A majority of Americans say it’s more important that political leaders in Washington compromise in order to get things done, rather than stick to their beliefs, even as Congress heads for a government shutdown for the second time in […] Read More

Compromise is “a rather complex issue that deserves serious thought.” So I wrote in an Aug. 5 comment following that day’s blog posting in which I cited Max Weber’s oft-quoted statement, “politics is the art of compromise.” In March, speaking to a small group of college students, President Obama candidly and openly emphasized the importance […] Read More

Thumbs up for the courage to compromise. Thumbs down for the arrogance of power. Fourteen Republican and Democratic senators reached a compromise agreement Monday night on judicial nominees, dampening the heated ideological conflict in Washington. Minority rights were preserved; some nominees get a vote. “The Senate won, and the country won,” said Sen. John McCain […] Read More