Viewpoint: Political compromise must be made for American progress

By Trevor Allison

Once again, an election year is upon us. But this isn’t any ordinary election year. It’s the year of the apocalypse. That is, if you believe those have interpreted the ending of the Mayan calendar as such. Or Republicans speaking of the possible re-election of President Barack Obama.

America is a great country. Many say it is the greatest country in the world. A big reason for that? Democracy. As Americans, we can vote for whomever we want. We can vote for someone who would make decisions like we would, approve the things we would approve and stand against the things we would stand against. At least this is the theory.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not writing this to bash democracy. I am not even writing this to bash American democracy. (Which is actually more similar to a democratic-republic that has often been crippled by the rise of a two-party system, but that’s a topic for another day.)

I am writing this to voice my frustrations about there not being a candidate who I feel identifies with me and my beliefs and values and what I should do as a result.

You might say, “That’s just the way it is sometimes. You have to make sacrifices. You have to make compromises.” As frustrating as this can be, I understand that we don’t live in a perfect world or a perfect democracy. These do not exist.

But if I have to make sacrifices, I feel as if our Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the White House should as well.

Republicans, who gained a majority in the House in 2010 mid-term elections, have been quick to vote down just about any legislation Obama and the Democrats offer for discussion or a vote. Many of the Republicans are supported by the Tea Party Movement and, along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have put their focus simply on not letting the president get a victory in an election year, instead of focusing on actions that will alleviate the economic burden on many Americans.

As of December 2011, 8.5 percent of Americans who want a job can’t find one. While the unemployment rate has dropped from 9.5 percent in February 2011, something needs to be done. At the risk of sounding socialist, the private sector has had plenty of time to right their wrongs. It’s time for the government to do something.

Maybe it could do something similar to the “New Deal” offered to Americans by President Franklin Roosevelt. I’m not talking about a large-scale permanent action like Social Security, but something more like the Civilian Conservation Corps or the Works Progress Administration, which can provide jobs as well as strengthen America’s aging infrastructure.

Regardless, something needs to happen. Even if this legislation does not line up with my particular views and values, I will accept it. My disagreeing with something doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong or isn’t the best idea. And even if it isn’t the best idea in the long run, I believe that America will survive. We have made mistakes in the past and have been able to learn from them and move forward.

I hope that whichever party wins the presidential election also wins a majority in the House and Senate. This way, Congress and the president will be able to agree and pass legislation to help Americans.

This is not me saying I’m not going to vote. I just have no idea which candidate will receive my vote. I’m not necessarily looking forward to choosing a candidate. But I am thankful that I live in a country where I can vote. And my vote counts.

Trevor Allison is a senior journalism major from Floyds Knobs, Ind., and is a reporter for the Lariat.