The collapse of compromise
Published Jun 23, 2005 10:24 PM
It is sometimes utterly amazing what politicians will sell
the American public.
The recent Senate squabble over the so-called
“nuclear option,” which threatened to abolish the old rules
governing Senate filibusters, or the ability of a minority of senators to create
roadblocks in the daily business of the Senate, came to an end when a number of
senators, Democrats and Republicans, agreed to a compromise that takes the
“nuclear option” off the table (for now), while the Senate proceeds
to conduct up or down votes on President Bush’s right-wing judicial
Already, Texas Supreme Court jurist Priscilla Owens now wears
the robe of a judge of the Court of Appeals—for life.
By the time
you read this, it’s quite possible that California Supreme Court Judge
Janice Rogers Brown will have been elevated to the D.C. Court of Appeals, the
same bench that Clarence Thomas warmed for some 13 months before George W.
Bush’s daddy, the first President Bush, named Thomas to the U.S. Supreme
By the Compromise of 14 (seven Democrats and seven Republicans),
the gates are now open for some of the most antidemocratic, arch-conservative,
anti-New-Deal jurists in the nation’s history to sit in judgment of other
If this is compromise, what does defeat
Many will argue that the compromise was a political necessity
to “preserve American traditions” or to “protect American
One wonders: What “traditions”? What
The so-called “Great Compromise” of 1790
made the United States possible. But it was a compromise that, 75 years later,
would explode across these states as Civil War, leaving over half a million
For Africans, it was a “not-so-great” com
promise, for it was based on the North’s quiet acquiescence and then
embrace of slavery.
THAT is the great American “tradition” and
“value” protected by this compromise.
In the words of the
Great Liberator, Harriet Tubman, who knew what she was talking about, slavery
was “the next thing to hell.” That “Great Compromise”
kept millions in bondage for a century.
That compromise, as well as the
compro mises between North and South after the Civil War, meant vast betrayals
of the very people, the very men, who fought and died for the Union—if
they were Black people.
Compromise meant betrayal.
It meant White
Supremacy uber alles.
It meant treating those who fought against the Union
better than those who
(if they were Black) fought for it.
Today, it means betrayal of the essence of opposing the worst,
most exclusive jur ists that Bush can find, for the form of keeping the sacred
tradition of filibustering safe.
We shall see, perhaps sooner than we
think, the costs of such compromise. And like the other compromises of the past,
it may take a century to undo the great and terrible damage they will
As before, it took great struggle and sacrifice to bring
Such struggle must begin anew, against the forces of repression,
of fear, of closed doors and crushed hopes.
To quote another great
freedom-fighter, Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without
demand. It never has, and it never will.”
If you want change, you
MUST act as if you do; there is no other true alternative.
organization that shares your ideas.
Then work to make it happen.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
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