Bleep 'My way or the highway'

Please. Stop. This idiom is for idiots.

The politicians who have accused an opponent of engaging in "My way the highway" rhetoric are picking a scab. They persuade only the simpleminded. They only expose their  shallowness.

The idiom shows up almost a million times in a Google search. Politicians in both Springfield--Illinois' state capital--and Washington D.C. use it as the last word, as  debate if is ended. .

screen-shot-2019-01-11-at-4-45-23-pmThe always classy Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan launched it in a final swipe at outgoing Gov. Bruce RaunerMadigan blamed Rauner for “four long years of character assassination, four long years of personal vilification, four long years of strident negotiating positions also known as my way or the highway.”

It's never enough for Madigan to beat  his opponent; it's necessary to humiliate him,  crush him and flush him away for good and ever. (See the documentary here.)

A fine case of the pot and kettle. Madigan and Democrats love to  blame  Rauner for the state's budgetary stalemate. but it was the majority Democrats who persistently passed billion-dollar deficit budgets that only sunk Illinois further into the mire. Rauner's veto was the right thing to do.

But Madigan wanted a "clean" budget without any of the worthwhile reforms that Rauner had proposed to help pull Illinois out of the toilet. But Madigan knew damn well that without the leverage of the budget, Rauner would never see any of his reforms pass. Which, thanks to Madigan and the piles of cash he receives from organized labor, Rauner didn't see anyway.

We're witnessing the same "my-way-or-the-highway" nonsense in Washington. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) laid it on President Donald Trump , accusing the chief executive for being the only one who is holding up progress on immigration, a border wall and the partial government shutdown. "You cannot come to a conclusion if the president of the United States says 'my way or the highway, there's nothing to negotiate, either agree with me or it's over.' "

Bunk.

No denying that Trump and Republicans also are applying the same negotiating tactic of stubbornness and taking it all personally. It's just as inexcusable. "Hard nose" negotiations please the dogged, uncompromising base on both sides, but dragged out, they accomplish little or other. Absolutists back themselves so firmly into a corner where they have no possibility of compromise without looking "weak" and "betraying" their base.

The price for hardheadedness is far beyond whatever side loses. As evidenced in Washington and Springfield, it doesn't get our problems solved. As important, it eats away at the very foundation of self-governance. Without compromise, we are heading toward autocratic rule.

Compromise doesn't always ensure the best results, but it's the only way forward. The failure of compromise is right in front of us--a government shutdown and a state sinking every more deeply into crisis. It can only get worse.

dennis@dennisbyrne.net

www.dennisbyrne.net 

 

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