The Dirtiest Word

“If I ever hear that word come out of your mouth ever again, I will wash your mouth out with soap young man!”  That was what my mother said every time I learned a new dirty word and decided to try it out. It only took one time having my mouth washed out with soap to know that using that dirty word was a poor decision.

We spend exhaustive amounts of time and handwringing over the use of dirty words.  There is a whole section of government that regulates what can and can’t be said on television or over the radio airwaves.  We all know the words.  Hell, we all use them. (Sorry, Mom).  George Carlin’s 1972 routine on the “7 Words You Can Never Say on Television” outlined it almost perfectly.  I say ‘almost’ because I believe there is another word that politicians have gradually added to the list………COMPROMISE.

When was the last time you heard someone in Washington say “I will go to Washington DC and work to reach compromise on healthcare, the budget, education reform,” – anything?  These people refuse to compromise on anything, seemingly on principle.  I’m not sure we could get Democrats and Republicans to agree on what day it is, much less to compromise a bit on anything for the betterment of our country.

Our founding fathers clearly understood the value of compromise.  The very structure of our government was achieved through what is known as the “Great Compromise,” which created the two chambers in Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives.  In fact, the constitution was not “a” compromise, but a product of many compromises, including the Three-Fifths Compromise, the Commerce Compromise, the Slave Trade Compromise, and the Election of the President (which created the Electoral College which is still used today).  Further, amending the federal Constitution to include a bill of rights was the essential political compromise in the creation of the United States government.  It is a measure of how far we’ve strayed from our founders’ ideals when the current members of the 2 houses created in the Constitution by the Great Compromise have grown to view compromise as an evil, rather than standard operating procedure.

So, how have we come to the point that if you compromise, you look weak?  If you compromise, you’ve lost the battle?  If you compromise, you have abandoned your principles?  How have we come to the point that ruining the country’s credit rating is more important than reaching consensus?  Why can’t we compromise on fixing a healthcare system that we all know is broken and needs changing?  Why can’t we compromise on reforming a tax policy that is asking far too much of too few?

Unfortunately, we are now at a time in history where doing nothing is not the answer.  Unfortunately, we have leaders who believe that their policies and perspectives are the only solution to our current predicaments. Unfortunately, we have political leaders who are abandoning their responsibilities to we citizens and to the processes that were designed to force them to compromise when the country needs it the most.

I’m not sure if my mom’s bar of soap is the answer to the non-use of a word.  But maybe a good cleaning in November will remind our leaders that compromise is not a dirty word.  Rather, it is the process which can make our country great again.

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4 Responses to "The Dirtiest Word"

  1. Larry says:

    Great article Mike!

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