Rigid Doom


We’re approaching this cliff and economists warn us that we’ll go into a recession if we take the plunge. I’m worried it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It seems that something must be done, or else we’ll get the shaft. How do we get something? Well, it won’t come from sitting in a corner, staring at your enemy and refusing to budge.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something you won’t commonly hear. Standing on principal will be the ruin of this country, at least the principals by some in Congress.

It doesn’t take strength to maintain your stance, just endurance. Many times it is an admirable trait. Other times it is nothing but grandstanding and ego.

Take Ron Paul for instance. The man sat in Congress for 20 years and never accomplished a damn thing. Why? Because he said no to everything. He refused to vote yes if it didn’t fit a narrow view of the Constitution. (He once voted against awarding Rosa Parks a Congressional Gold Medal.)

He was lauded, mostly by younger generations, for his refusal inability to back down. I find it ironic that Paul was so stubborn about adhering to the Constitution, which is a document that took intense compromise to construct. The Founding Fathers spent months fighting each other, working with each other before finalizing the parchment. THEN it had to be ratified.

So for Ron Paul to take the Constitution and remain inflexible is somewhat hubris to me.

No doubt, if anyone reads this, Paul’s followers likely will leave flaming comments underneath (if anyone reads it). But I challenge any of them to answer one question: what significant accomplishment did Paul ever have in Congress? Yes, he inspired people to get involved with the process. Yes, his principles were admirable. But did he ever do anything? The one great idea he had, to audit the Federal Reserve, went nowhere. When his district was ravaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008, he refused to vote for some assistance to victims, his own constituents.

I know Paul personally and I respect him because he is a kind and very intelligent man. He deeply believes in his ideals. That is admirable.

But the good doctor had no business being in Congress. If the House was full of people like him, nothing would ever get done. Congress is not the place to take the bully pulpit and spout philosophy. (That’s for bloggers.)

We have a Congress now full of ideologues who refuse to negotiate and compromise. I’m speaking mostly of the Tea Party groupies. They are nothing like Paul. He is well adverse on his stances. They’re just angry. They have created nothing but stalemate and they brag about how they haven’t changed their views.

One thing about holding to your beliefs is it doesn’t require you to look at life through someone else’s point of view.

I’m sorry. It takes little to no effort to stand on principle in politics.

Real courage and accomplishment comes from negotiation. It was compromise that gave us the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence—not a bunch of people sitting in a room, refusing to budge.

There are times and places for principle. I am not saying that everyone who stands on principle is just plain stubborn. I’m saying at times, it takes real vision and real courage to work with your opponent for the betterment of your country.

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