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Letter: Compromise is key to political progress

President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press

President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on Feb. 5, 2016. Credit: AP

“Rising anger over politics” [Editorial, Jan. 22], concerning public disgust with politicians, has a great element of truth, but I think it misses the complete story.

People are jaded by the parade of politicians being convicted and the people on Wall Street getting off scot-free with just a fine. Having taught high school social studies, I believe this frustration is compounded by a failure of basic civics instruction.

This country was founded on compromise, and that seems to be lost in today’s political discourse. Those on both the left and right are guilty of a misunderstanding of how government works.

Starting with the Constitution, delegates from the North and South had to address slavery. If the right to own slaves hadn’t been guaranteed, the South wouldn’t have joined the union. Big and small states compromised on legislative composition. The Missouri and the 1850 compromises were enacted to put off civil war. The essence was give a little, get a little, to achieve a greater good.

More contemporary examples would be the anti-communist Richard Nixon going against his base to open diplomatic relations with Communist China and Ronald Reagan dealing with a Democratic Congress and Rep. Tip O’Neill to advance legislation.

If people refuse to believe that there are other valid points of view, we will continue to see little if anything get accomplished.

Tony Smolenski

Little Neck