This Is Not a Concession Stand

By Kathryn Tanaka

One thing I can admire about former President Donald Trump is his confidence and willingness to go against tradition. Rather than try to unite the nation after winning the election, as newly-elects have in the past, Trump actively used his platform to advertise his deeply conservative values. In doing so, he made it acceptable for his followers to believe in his twisted truths. As more government officials came out in support of the president-elect, the polarization between Democrats and Republicans became more apparent. If you were not for Trump, you were against him; the Republican party would paint you as the enemy, even if you were in their party.

By giving right-wing officials no choice but to support him, Trump forced his hatred of the “radical left” onto Republicans. Finding a middle ground? No. Giving any type of concessions to Democrats? Don’t even start. Compromising? Off the table. This doesn’t only apply to the Trump administration though. Even now, both bullheaded parties are unwilling to give any ground and Congress sits at a standstill. Especially when dealing with an entire nation of people with inherently different principles, you cannot only think of one perspective as correct.

The point of a democracy is to allow civilians to exercise their fundamental rights and free will. When no one’s needs are being met, having representatives in a democracy is redundant.

Take, for example, our current split of the House of Representatives. There are 221 Republicans and 212 Democrats. In such a divided chamber, you need a mix of votes from both sides of the aisle. To get these votes, you must give each side exceptions and sacrifices so the majority chooses to pass a measure. But when representatives do vote for compromise, people blame them saying, “This isn’t what we wanted,” or “He’s switching sides.” In reality, these officials are doing better than their stubborn colleagues. They understand that to have any kind of change, you must compromise. Getting some victories but not all may be all that is possible. As George Washington said, “To please all is impossible, and to attempt it would be vain.”