Sunday, August 07, 2011

Too bad our politicians have so poorly learned the main lesson of the Civil War

We are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War this year. That war has been called the greatest lesson in American history of the cost of failing to find a political compromise. Among its costs were 620,000 military deaths out of a total population of 30 million. The war was due to a failure of political leaders to find a compromise, although in retrospect many compromises would have been better for all parties than was the war itself. The failure to compromise was probably due to a failure of those American politicians to accurately forecast the effects of their actions.

As I look at the failure of our politicians to find compromises that would clearly be better than their results over the past year, I recognize that they have failed to learn this important lesson from the Civil War. While they might still fail to accurately foresee the results of their actions (being unthoughtful, uninformed, and arrogant) they might still have sought to avoid such an obvious failure of out past.

It is especially sad that large numbers of our citizens, especially a large portion of Republicans, believe that members of Congress should not seek compromise, willingly subjecting the nation to unneeded hardship rather than sacrificing "principle" as they see it.

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