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Will Whatley: ‘Compromise’ and ‘cooperation’ ain’t dirty words

By WILL WHATLEY, Alabama Daily News

You learn to share a lot when you grow up with three brothers. All four of us boys were born in a five-and-a-half year span, so the closeness in ages added a level of difficulty that most parents don’t have to experience. More than one fistfight was had over a Tonka truck.

Having brothers so close in age also meant we often had to work on projects together, with varying degrees of success. (I may or may not have chased a brother around the yard while wielding a running weed eater.) It wasn’t always easy to get things done. We have different personalities and different skill sets. We’d have different goals in mind. But despite our differences, we usually found ourselves working together for a shared result that we could all be content with.

And believe me, if four young brothers can come together to work something out, adult men and women should be able to do the same.

It’s somewhat fitting that the mother of all presidential elections took place in 2020, or as I call it “Doomsday’s practice round.” Despite often being forced by Mother Nature and asked by the government to isolate ourselves in hopes of limiting the spread of a worldwide pandemic, people came together in numerous unique ways to support their candidates up and down the ticket. By the total number of votes cast, it was America’s biggest presidential election with an incredibly tense set of contests that, by all intents and purposes, is now over.

Despite the repeated attempts of Trump to fight the election results, it doesn’t appear that anything will keep Joe Biden out of the White House. But it’s more likely than not that the GOP will retain its Senate majority, thereby effectively controlling what pieces of legislation will make it to President-elect Biden’s desk.

So where does this all now leave us?

What was once considered a virtue in compromise has now all but vanished. Our political polarization could very well doom us. There are bills before Congress that would provide much-needed relief for an economy ravaged by the pandemic; however, the two sides have become so diametrically opposed to each other that it’s hard to see them working together. Add in the Georgia runoff elections, which will decide which party will control the Senate, and you’re looking at a couple more months of people and businesses struggling to stay afloat.

Look, it’s easy to take your ball and go home when things don’t go how you want them to. It’s just as easy to celebrate and gloat when things break your way. But when you’re members of the greatest legislative body in the world, there are certain expectations of putting in work and making things better for the rest of us.

We still face some daunting tasks because of the wrath this year hath wrought, and we won’t succeed unless we find common ground and commit to being the statesmen and stateswomen the rest of the world expects from its superpower. It’s time to cut the bull and act like adults.

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