Inside This Issue:

The Owl’s Eye, Issue 229

The Owl’s Eyeby John Davis

Compromise?

We read about suicide bombs going off…far away. Street markets get blasted by whistling mortar shells. Villages with no running water get overrun, burned to the ground, and all the inhabitants massacred. Towns in places with unpronounceable names are blown to bits and terrorized by roving gangs of killers. Then ethnic groups are chased away or murdered because, well, they are different.

Do you wonder about our future? We, all of us, want our future to be peaceful. If wars factor into your ideas, you no doubt hope they are elsewhere, very far, far away. Where do wars come from, anyway?  Why have we been spared here?

Before you answer this, think. What do we have others don’t? We all have a way to feel a part of our country. We can vote. After the vote, there is a change of government, without violence. We feel relatively safe. Few places on earth can say this. This is a safe, relatively fair, country. Where not, we can act to change it through reforms.

How did we get to this favored place?  One man, Edmund Burke, a great English parliamentarian from the era of our Revolution, said it best to his colleagues, who did not want to compromise with America, “”All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise.” Burke wanted to compromise with the rebellious colonials. He wanted them to feel closer to the Motherland of England. He wanted to compromise with them and keep them a part of the British Empire. His British Parliamentary colleagues did not. They wanted no compromise; they wanted to fight the colonies. They fought by sending thousands of their sons to America, and they lost thousands of their young men, killed on American battlefields.

Compromise?  When is the last time you heard an American politician say that?  For that matter, when was the last time you thought about that? Compromise is what we learned when we found out we couldn’t all play on the swing at the same time. We learned to share, and if everyone got a chance at using the ball field, everyone was satisfied. He knew his turn would come.

Now I’ve seen people talk about other Americans as the enemy. ‘They don’t agree with me, so I hate them.’ Reading some of the unsourced and unidentified commentaries on the Internet, you’d think we were a nation divided against itself. Hating ourself. The attitude is, “When we get in we’ll clean this place up!. We are good, and they are evil. There is no middle ground; all good is on our side, and they are less than us.” Such a strange mentality sweeps many corners of our land. Such people don’t believe in the fundamental purpose of compromise; to preserve our way of government, indeed our way of life.

I read recently how the great 19th Century was believed to be the pinnacle of success. The Industrial Revolution brought untold wealth, speed, literacy, and awareness of fighting previously dread diseases to the great nations of the world. They were proud of all their achievements. Progress, it seemed, would go on forever.

Progress ended with the Great War. World War 1 showed how far people had really come. They couldn’t compromise, and thought their wealth would protect them. They thought the wars would be fought elsewhere, with other people’s children. Instead, poison gas, machine guns, high explosives, flame throwers, mines, airplanes, submarines, and hand grenades, all products of this great era of mechanical advancement, slaughtered men by the millions in trenches; trenches where they lived like bugs or rats.

This is what happened when so called civilized people didn’t compromise. We think it can’t happen here, now.  Why?

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