Shades of Gray


I used to be an Angry Young Man, who believed that any sort of compromise with my core principles could not be tolerated.

Actually, I still believe that — except I’ve decided to redefine “core principles.” My core principles that will not be compromised have to do with ethics — I will not tolerate dishonesty, hypocrisy, and cheating.gray

But politics? Law? My marriage? Life in general? Sure, let’s work together to solve our problems.

I’ve learned, as I’ve aged and become wiser, that I’d rather work with the other side and get 50% of what I want than be stubborn and get 0%.

There are gray areas in the world. Not everything is black and white. Compromise is needed to get things done.

A lot of the arguments I get into with people over politics seem to do with this refusal to compromise; with people who see things only in black and white. (And this includes many on the left as well.)

In some ways, it is like those who strongly believe their religion to the point where there can be no compromise because that means you’re helping evil prevail. Abortion is the best example I can think of there. I am more than willing to compromise on this issue — I agree that there should be restrictions based on medical science. Those who see no gray areas will not budge.

There are also political believers who have similar ideas. They see the world also in absolutes that allow no compromise.

And, of course, you all know what’s coming. The issue that falls into that category these days is gun control. The extremists think that it is impossible to have any compromise because it’s a violation of their civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution. They feel that any attempt to prevent felons, terrorists or the insane from having guns is as much of a violation of their rights as throwing someone in jail without giving them a hearing.

As I’ve stated before, all rights have reasonable limitations. The 1st amendment is written about as clear as it could be (and much clearer than the 2nd) and there are many reasonable restrictions on the 1st. I agree with these reasonable restrictions, as does just about every other American, including the 2nd amendment extremists.

There are reasonable restrictions on the 4th amendment concerning search and seizure laws. There are reasonable restrictions on the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. And just about every American agrees with those, too.

Yet when I talk about reasonable restrictions on the 2nd, suddenly people are calling me “anti-civil rights”. This despite my entire career being dedicated to the exact opposite.

Seriously, how do you deal with these people? Well, you can’t. You can lead someone to compromise, but you can’t make them think.

Some people never grow out of the “Angry Young Man” phase of their life.