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Human Resources

Weekly Wisdom 2-17-2016

 

 

February 17, 2016

Opinion and Compromise

For some reason, I turned on the radio a few days ago, and caught President Obama giving a speech at the Illinois General Assembly. In 1996, Obama officially launched his political career, winning election to the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat from the South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park. This 2016 speech marked the ninth anniversary of the day he announced his candidacy for the presidency. In this speech, he called for unity and compromise to fix American politics. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the speech:

(In the Illinois legislature) I learned by talking to your constituents that if you were willing to listen, it was possible to bridge a lot of differences.  I learned that most Americans aren’t following the ins and outs of the legislature carefully…they understand the difference between realism and idealism; the difference between responsibility and recklessness. They had the maturity to know what can and cannot be compromised, and to admit the possibility that the other side just might have a point. And it convinced me that if we just approached our national politics the same way the American people approach their daily lives –- at the workplace, at the Little League game; at church or the synagogue -- with common sense, and a commitment to fair play and basic courtesy, that there is no problem that we couldn’t solve together.

Along those same lines, I’ve learned a lot about Justice Scalia since his death over the weekend. Justices are, according to some, appointed to the Supreme Court for life so they have the freedom to think. They have the time and independence to investigate law and to really argue the fine points of any case.  Sounds like Scalia was smart and appreciated others for their intellect. Michael W. McConnell, Stanford Law School, wrote, “By sheer force of intellect and personality, Scalia helped to move the court from a somewhat sloppy, results-oriented, center-left institution to a more intellectually rigorous center-right court that forefronts text and history over other modes of interpretation.”

There will be a big fight over who will appoint the next Supreme Court justice to replace Scalia. President Obama says he’ll nominate someone. Republican led Congress vows to not vote on his nominee, hoping a Republican president will be elected in November. Seems like a wastes of time to me. Let’s get on with governing.

I’ve been reminded this week that opinion is formed by what I know, by what I hear, by what I come to believe. I must be vigilant to always seek answers and to value, as Obama said, “common sense, a commitment to fair play and basic courtesy,” as a way to solve problems.

I write Weekly Wisdom as the Executive Director of Human Resources at Central Washington University. Having an eye for meaningful things, I include my own observations and thoughts, ideas I’ve recently encountered, and/or topics that are of current importance. I like to think that others will find reading Weekly Wisdom worth their time.  
     Staci Sleigh-Layman

 

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