Intransigence and Democracy

I’ve long stopped looking at issues through either a Republican or a Democrat filter. While it takes a certain discipline not to let oneself fall one way or another, it yields a picture of a given situation that can either be more encouraging or more disconcerting. In the case of the discussions about raising the debt limit, when certain congress people took a stand divorced from the realities of the Market or the global economy or consequences to the average person, I am so saddened, for what their stance looked like to me is intransigence. I ask myself, what is the place of intransigence in a democracy? In a dictatorship or other form of authoritarian regime it’s clear, but in a system built to uphold democratic principles, wouldn’t intransigence erode those very principles?
Mike Duffy of Time Magazine commented during a recent television appearance that although in the past Congress always compromised, these days even the hint of compromise was seen as a surrender. His view reinforces the fact that whatever the outcome, the legacy of this protracted discussion can’t help but be an exercise in intransigence. Those members of congress who feel they must stand on their interpretation of principle and refuse compromise feel virtuous and right, unaware that their stand seen through a wider lens erodes the premise of the democracy they think they are defending.