Today I wrote about Boulder City finding the right balance in negotiations with a developer. (Read here)
But it hints at a larger issue in politics and that is principles vs. compromise. We all want principled politicians, and talk of the need for people to stick to their principles. To ensure they do we often ask them to sign pledges. One, may be a pledge that they won’t raise taxes or a pledge to protect social security. But we also say politicians need to be able to compromise. Be willing to give a little. These two ideals often seem to conflict and people often use them to their own benefit. They say that a politician has no principles when they compromise something they would not, and get upset the politician won’t compromise when it would better align with their views.
Truth is, I respect someone who will not compromise on core principles but find that most political issues do not fall under core principles, no matter how much we want them to. Taxes, social programs, and zoning laws are all important policies that can be guided by our principles but the specifics of the policy is not a core principle that cannot be compromised.
One of the Boulder City Council Candadites was asked to sign a pledge and replied that the only pledge he would agree to was the pledge of allegiance to our flag. That was Councilman Harhay and that position was wise, not necessarily politically wise but simply incredibly sage. My respect for Councilman Harhay has grown and his decision to compromise that I wrote about this week led to many online critics but I think he and others on our council are successfully finding that they can indeed both compromise and stay true to their principles.