Principles and Practicality

There seems to be an overwhelming amount of gridlock within our political system today. You can think of almost any issue and know how our legislators are going to vote based on their party affiliation. It’s hard to get a large group of people to agree on anything, but when it comes to our governing bodies, it seems inevitable that every member of one party will vote one way, and all the members of the other party will vote the opposite way. It’s difficult to imagine that these legislators have the best interest of their constituents in mind every time they vote.

Governing in a democracy requires a balance between long-held principle beliefs and the ability to understand the merits of the opposite position while forming a win/win compromise. The people are best served when there is a delicate balance between principles and practicality. A senator or member of congress who staunchly clings to his or her principles without even considering opposing views will rarely, if ever, see one of their ideas turned into a bill that results in a law. On the other hand, legislators who are willing to compromise on everything to simply make a deal rarely deliver the results that they were elected to create.

My late, great friend and colleague Dr. Robert Schuller often said, “Never get the question of how you are going to do it mixed up in the question of what you are going to do.” If you applied Dr. Schuller’s wisdom to politics and our governing officials, you would realize that how we are going to do something may be the process of compromise while what we are going to do makes up the time-tested principles.

Whether you want your representatives to cut taxes, increase military spending, or create a workable immigration policy, it’s important for them to understand the results you want as they endeavor to craft a win/win scenario for all concerned. Great negotiations happen when people come together committed to settling on a compromise in which everyone gets something but no one gets everything. This can only happen when our leaders understand what part of an issue they can be flexible on as well as on what part of an issue they cannot yield.

This is a delicate balance. There are issues such as budgets and other financial considerations where it is easy to craft a compromise, and there are issues like capital punishment and abortion where it is hard to find any common ground. It may be as important to know how a candidate will function in this process as it is to know which side of an issue they may support.

As you go through your day today, get involved in the process and hold to your beliefs as you seek middle ground.

Today’s the day!



Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at; on Facebook at; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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