The Cruciality Of Compromise And How It Guards Against Tyranny

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In the essay titled “Rescuing Compromise” by journalist Johnathon Rauch, he analyzes the political system today and the one that was created by the founding fathers not-so-long-ago. More specifically, Rauch delves into the Constitution and the idea of compromise. He claims that the Constitution was written with compromise at the center of it, and goes so far as to say that the political “actors” of today seem to have forgotten the importance of compromise. As Rauch puts it, the Constitution forces compromise for two major reasons: to “contain ambition” and to “guard against tyranny” by “forcing adaptation. (118)” He gives evidence of how the political system of today has moved away from this goal of the framers, citing specific groups and people who have spoken against the concept of political compromise. However, Rauch concludes his essay with a call to action that I whole-heartedly agree with – one to bring back compromise.

Compromise is one of the most valuable tools the citizens and politicians in this country have. The Constitution does two very important things at the same time: it simultaneously encourages and discourages change. More specifically, it encourages change that is critical and discourages change that is one sided or not absolutely necessary. The framers knew that the world someday would be a much different place than the one they lived in, and they planned for this. Making change in this country is not easy – one could observe this by looking at major issues such as slavery, suffrage, and gay marriage rights – but that level of difficulty to change is crucial to the foundation of our society. If change came easily, the required analysis necessary to make these changes would not necessarily be carried out. Through the system of checks, balances, and compromises, the citizen is guarded from tyranny and premature policy change.

The heart of Rauch’s essay does not evoke hope for the system. For example, one group mentioned was the Tea Party, which cited one problem with compromise being that politicians change their views once elected, in order to get reelected. However, as he starts to draw his essay to a close, he tells of a few (Republican) people who have started to change their negative view of compromise and began to advocate for it. This gives a more positive end to his piece as he echoes that we need to bring back compromise in the political system.  

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