That word - - Compromise - - often elicits an angry response. Some think it means sacrificing one's principles on the alter of expediency.
In fact, compromise is a valuable way to resolve conflict, a fact of life in any relationship. What sets it apart is its ability to find a way forward when the the clock is ticking and the only alternative is "all or nothing."
The constitutional republic called the Unite States of America was intentionally designed by its founders to require compromise in order to reach decisions among opposing views. Without compromise, nothing happens. It's part of negotiation, it's "the art of the possible." Both parties agree to get half a loaf and come back tomorrow to try again.
Today's Wall Street Journal included the following quote by Ronald Reagan that tells it best.
"There were still some hard feelings toward me left over from the campaign, when I’d gone out of my way to say I thought the professional politicians in Sacramento and I were natural enemies: My loyalty was to the people, not the political establishment, and I had said so fairly pointedly. Although that sentiment never changed, I realized after a while that to accomplish what I wanted to do swimming upstream against a current of opposition legislators, I’d have to do some negotiating with them. . . .
When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining in Sacramento, a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn’t like it. “Compromise” was a dirty word to them and they wouldn’t face the fact that we couldn’t get all of what we wanted today. They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don’t get it all, some said, don’t take anything.
I’d learned while negotiating union contracts (as president of the Screen Actors Guild) that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: “I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.”
If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that’s what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it."
The reason Rep Paul Ryan is being courted to step into the role of House Speaker is because he understands the necessity of compromise. He's getting pilloried for it by some in his party. It will be interesting to see if it has become a forgotten art to his colleagues. The alternatives aren't pretty.