In our world of increasingly-partisan politics, compromise is a word that we hear a lot but don't see nearly enough of it actually taking place. We hear about how important it is to the American public that our policymakers and representatives put politics aside to reach compromise for the good of the people. Yet, despite countless opportunities to meet in the middle, we don't see enough middle ground policies actually move forward. Meanwhile, the 'to do' list inside the beltway grows longer due to political stalemates, which is frustrating -- especially when the issues on the table come with high stakes that could drastically change the lives of everyday Americans.
With this being the case, you would think that a reasonable approach to resolve any one of these important issues would be appreciated and thoughtfully considered by stakeholders. But this is not necessarily true -- take, for example, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) compromise on net neutrality, announced earlier this month, that was met by a full scale fight from net neutrality proponents.
No, that was not a typo. In the days and weeks since the FCC's announcement I have received a surprising number of action alerts from so-called public interest groups that are net neutrality supporters asking folks to contact the FCC, links to online petitions to be delivered to the FCC and to President Obama, and even videos encouraging Commissioners to reject the mainstream compromise.
Now, I am all for thoughtful discussion -- even over compromise -- but the messages that the groups behind this effort are sending to the FCC read more like 'it's my way or the highway' than 'let's work together.' Take, for example, this call to action from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) that calls the compromise 'garbage,' this petition from Free Press that calls the compromise 'toothless,' and instructs viewers to 'accept no substitute to real net neutrality,' or this open attack on a compromise supporter.
The debate over net neutrality has been long and -- at times -- highly contentious. However, in the end, we need to move forward with smart policies that are in the best interest of the American public -- regardless of the political winners and losers. In my opinion, this is what the FCC has kept in mind while constructing a reasonable proposal that aims to ensure that the Internet remains a powerful platform for innovation and job creation without over-regulation.
Unfortunately, it appears that some are not open to this levelheaded approach, and will instead continue to push extreme policies -- but drawing a hard line is not an effective negotiating tactic and, ultimately, will not get us where we need to be.
We can't lose sight of what is at stake in this debate at this critical point in time. All signs point to our country being at the edge of turning things around, but we have got to do something to get over the proverbial hump. The FCC is headed in the right direction for the right reasons; I hope that the Commissioners keep it going.