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berni_mccoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-04-10 12:58 PM
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On This Independence Day, Pragmatic Words from Thomas Jefferson, A Solidarity Democrat
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I thought on this 4th of July, we might want to reflect on one of the founding father's, Thomas Jefferson's, thoughts on Compromise and Solidarity. As grantcart recently defined:

Solidarity Democrats

Solidarity Democrats feel that history has shown that real change comes when coalitions are built and some degree of party discipline facilitates passing actual legislation. Solidarity Democrats are more willing to make calculations to get 80% of a good bill than to wait and get a much better bill. They strongly support the President because he leads the party but also because in many ways he shares their opinion and approach. Solidarity Democrats have strong principles but feel that interim victories bring us closer to those principles, and are not a sell out. Solidarity Democrats strongest argument is based on the fact that the Senate requires not a super majority but a super-super majority where Senators from the 20 smallest states (and only 20% of the population) can effect a veto on all legislation. Solidarity Democrats therefore are not against compromises, as distasteful as they are, that split the harmony of the Republican Caucus. One big step today can be added on to make a big leap over time.

So, without further adieu, words of one of the first Democrats himself (more at: ) ...

Accepting Differences of Opinion

"We know too well the texture of the human mind, and the slipperiness of human reason, to consider differences of opinion otherwise than differences of form or feature. Integrity of views more than their soundness, is the basis of esteem." --Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1799. ME 10:85

"I see too many proofs of the imperfection of human reason to entertain wonder or intolerance at any difference of opinion on any subject, and acquiesce in that difference as easily as on a difference of feature or form, experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can when we cannot do all we would wish." --Thomas Jefferson to John Randolph, 1803. ME 10:436

"Differing on a particular question from those whom I knew to be of the same political principles with myself, and with whom I generally thought and acted, a consciousness of the fallibility of the human mind and of my own in particular, with a respect for the accumulated judgment of my friends, has induced me to suspect erroneous impressions in myself, to suppose my own opinion wrong, and to act with them on theirs. The want of this spirit of compromise, or of self-distrust, proudly but falsely called independence, is what gives some opponents victories which they could never obtain if these brethren could learn to respect the opinions of their friends more than of their enemies, and prevents many able and honest men from doing all the good they otherwise might do. These considerations... have often quieted my own conscience in voting and acting on the judgment of others against my own... All honest and prudent men should sacrifice a little of self-confidence, and... go with their friends, although they may sometimes think they are going wrong." --Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1811. ME 13:50

The Need to Compromise

"A government held together by the bands of reason only, requires much compromise of opinion." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1824. ME 16:25

"On no question can a perfect unanimity be hoped." --Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Inhabitants of Boston, 1808. ME 16:315

"Things even salutary should not be crammed down the throats of dissenting brethren, especially when they may be put into a form to be willingly swallowed." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1824. ME 16:25

"I respect the right of free opinion too much to urge an uneasy pressure of my own opinion on others. Time and advancing science will ripen us all in its course and reconcile all to wholesome and necessary changes." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1824. FE 10:320

"I see the necessity of sacrificing our opinions sometimes to the opinions of others for the sake of harmony." --Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes, 1790. FE 5:194

"It is for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible in matters which they must of necessity transact together." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.VIII, 1782. ME 2:120

"People can never agree without some sacrifices." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1789. ME 7:334, Papers 15:98

"A great deal of indulgence is necessary to strengthen habits of harmony and fraternity." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1824. ME 16:25

"I will sacrifice everything but principle to procure harmony." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Adams, 1801. ME 10:251

"Every man cannot have his way in all things. If his opinion prevails at some times, he should acquiesce on seeing that of others preponderate at other times. Without this mutual disposition we are disjointed individuals, but not a society." --Thomas Jefferson to John Dickinson, 1801. FE 8:76

"In general, I think it necessary to give as well as take in a government like ours." --Thomas Jefferson to George Mason, 1790. ME 8:36

"He alone who walks strict and upright, and who, in matters of opinion, will be contented that others should be as free as himself and acquiesce when his opinion is freely overruled, will attain his object in the end." --Thomas Jefferson to Gideon Granger, 1804. ME 11:25

Maintaining Union

"Without union of action and effort in all its parts... no nation can be happy or safe." --Thomas Jefferson to James Sullivan, 1807. ME 11:236

"Union of opinion... gives to a nation the blessing of harmony and the benefit of all its strength." --Thomas Jefferson: 2nd Inaugural, 1805. ME 3:383

"To the principles of union I sacrifice all minor differences of opinion. These, like differences of face, are a law of our nature and should be viewed with the same tolerance." --Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1811. ME 13:67

"If to rid ourselves of the present rule of Massachusetts and Connecticut, we break the Union, will the evil stop there? Suppose the New England States alone cut off, will our natures be changed? Are we not men still to the south of that, and with all the passions of men. Immediately we shall see a Pennsylvania and a Virginia party arise in the residuary confederacy, and the public mind will be distracted with the same party spirit. What a game, too, will the one party have in their hands by eternally threatening the other that unless they do so and so, they will join their Northern neighbors. If we reduce our Union to Virginia and North Carolina, immediately the conflict will be established between the representatives of these two States, and they will end by breaking into their simple units. Seeing, therefore, that an association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry, seeing that we must have somebody to quarrel with, I had rather keep our New England associates for that purpose than to see our bickerings transferred to others... A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolved, and the people recovering their true sight, restoring their government to its true principles." --Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798. ME 10:45

"It might have been made the interest of the western States to remain united with us, by managing their interests honestly and for their own good. But the moment we sacrifice their interests to our own, they will see it better to govern themselves." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1786. ME 6:10

"A reasonable disposition,... sensible that advantages are not all to be on one side, yielding what is just and liberal, is the more certain of obtaining liberality and justice." --Thomas Jefferson to Robert Walsh, 1818. ME 15:176
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  -On This Independence Day, Pragmatic Words from Thomas Jefferson, A Solidarity Democrat berni_mccoy  Jul-04-10 12:58 PM   #0 
  - well except for the unfortunate reference to the demented DUer in your first line  grantcart   Jul-04-10 01:44 PM   #1 
  - I had to go back and look to see  Cha   Jul-04-10 02:47 PM   #9 
  - They were friends, then rivals, then friends again  Seneca   Jul-04-10 05:10 PM   #40 
  - "doing what good we can when we cannot do all we would wish."  treestar   Jul-04-10 01:45 PM   #2 
  - ""I will sacrifice everything but principle to procure harmony."  sabrina 1   Jul-04-10 03:14 PM   #16 
     - Wish I could KnR replies.  asdjrocky   Jul-04-10 03:17 PM   #18 
     - +1,000,000 nt  laughingliberal   Jul-04-10 03:31 PM   #27 
     - The definitive rebuttal to the historical revisionism of the OP  Prism   Jul-04-10 04:28 PM   #36 
     - He agreed to going along with not getting all we would wish  treestar   Jul-04-10 08:29 PM   #45 
     - Thanks for that.  Spheric   Jul-04-10 11:07 PM   #59 
     - +100  Hannah Bell   Jul-05-10 04:16 AM   #67 
     - Thanks for demonstrating that Jefferson would want nothing to do  skeptical cynic   Jul-05-10 08:50 AM   #72 
     - +1  JHB   Jul-05-10 03:59 PM   #109 
     - Nailed it.  donco6   Jul-05-10 07:18 PM   #111 
     - +1 for "everything but principle"  Ignis   Jul-06-10 11:18 AM   #116 
  - K & R  Scurrilous   Jul-04-10 01:56 PM   #3 
  - More words from Thomas Jefferson regarding Solidarity Democrats.  Tierra_y_Libertad   Jul-04-10 01:57 PM   #4 
  - Excellent. nt  DirkGently   Jul-04-10 10:53 PM   #56 
  - Excellent quote, proving the OP's interpretation of his meaning  sabrina 1   Jul-06-10 11:56 AM   #120 
  - Oh Jefferson....that compromiser! That giver-inner!  KonaKane   Jul-04-10 02:02 PM   #5 
  - Yes, words to ponder but not to misuse, as they are being used  sabrina 1   Jul-04-10 04:40 PM   #38 
     - I agree with your definition of compromise. I just dont agree with some here,  KonaKane   Jul-04-10 10:55 PM   #57 
     - Thank you for trying, sabrina.  enlightenment   Jul-05-10 09:36 AM   #73 
        - Nice drive by. Care to explain?  KonaKane   Jul-05-10 07:22 PM   #113 
           - No, not really,  enlightenment   Jul-07-10 01:44 AM   #123 
  - Jefferson  HughMoran   Jul-04-10 02:09 PM   #6 
  - Recommended.  Bobbie Jo   Jul-04-10 02:34 PM   #7 
  - Brilliant words by Thomas Jefferson, berni..  Cha   Jul-04-10 02:45 PM   #8 
  - Absolutely beautiful. And how very reasonable of him.  DevonRex   Jul-04-10 02:47 PM   #10 
  - What I nice collection of quotes  POAS   Jul-04-10 02:50 PM   #11 
  - The pragmatic slave owner  Oregone   Jul-04-10 02:51 PM   #12 
  - -1 Good grief  DevonRex   Jul-04-10 02:52 PM   #13 
  - -1 I see you have a cockroach as your avatar. Impressive. -1  Hekate   Jul-04-10 03:27 PM   #23 
  - +1  JonLP24   Jul-06-10 12:04 PM   #121 
  - Jefferson would be  oldlib   Jul-04-10 03:00 PM   #14 
  - Jefferson was quite a radical in his day  Prism   Jul-04-10 03:04 PM   #15 
  - Right and he would never reconcile with John Adams either  grantcart   Jul-04-10 03:16 PM   #17 
  - And the more supportive of slavery he got. n/t  Unvanguard   Jul-04-10 03:35 PM   #28 
  - Which has nothing to do with the point  Prism   Jul-04-10 03:40 PM   #30 
     - I have no idea what you mean by pragmatism or what others mean  grantcart   Jul-04-10 03:55 PM   #33 
        - Your definition of practical does not hold  Prism   Jul-04-10 04:07 PM   #34 
           - Excellent post, thank you!  sabrina 1   Jul-04-10 08:03 PM   #42 
  - You could have made your point without being disgusting in the body of your post  Hekate   Jul-04-10 03:29 PM   #26 
  - I believe in accuracy.  Prism   Jul-04-10 03:42 PM   #31 
  - omg, i'm am not worthy!!  nashville_brook   Jul-05-10 10:57 AM   #82 
  - Shameless, absolutely shameless.  asdjrocky   Jul-04-10 03:18 PM   #19 
  - That's our berni!  Forkboy   Jul-05-10 12:51 PM   #100 
  - People often forget that the Constitution was nothing but one big  johnaries   Jul-04-10 03:18 PM   #20 
  - Yeah, slaveowners were willing to compromise that their slaves were only worth 3/5 in the census...  JackRiddler   Jul-04-10 03:23 PM   #21 
     - the Bill of Rights was a part of the compromise.  KonaKane   Jul-04-10 03:37 PM   #29 
        - The Bill of Rights followed due to objections after the Constitution was proposed.  JackRiddler   Jul-04-10 03:53 PM   #32 
           - Actually it was a compromise to Mason's demand that slavery be addressed  KonaKane   Jul-04-10 04:09 PM   #35 
  - Jefferson-- whose memorial in DC gave me goosebumps as I read his words  Hekate   Jul-04-10 03:24 PM   #22 
  - I am a "Solidarity Democrat." However...  Unvanguard   Jul-04-10 03:27 PM   #24 
  - A Kick for our Pragmatic Founders  NJmaverick   Jul-04-10 03:28 PM   #25 
  - You might as well talk to a brick wall.  tabasco   Jul-04-10 04:35 PM   #37 
  - I find this worship of the founding fathers to be both disturbing and distressing...  Cleobulus   Jul-04-10 05:00 PM   #39 
  - Oh, I see what your problem is.  bvar22   Jul-04-10 06:03 PM   #41 
  - Jefferson was no capitulator that's for sure and I agree  sabrina 1   Jul-04-10 08:07 PM   #43 
  - Jefferson? An ally of corporate Democrats? I think not.  Laelth   Jul-04-10 08:28 PM   #44 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   Jul-04-10 08:33 PM   #46 
  - And like a wet bottle rocket,  bvar22   Jul-04-10 08:49 PM   #47 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   Jul-04-10 09:03 PM   #48 
     - No, berni, it's all a popularity contest TO YOU.  Laelth   Jul-04-10 09:49 PM   #49 
        - Deleted message  Name removed   Jul-04-10 10:38 PM   #55 
        - Amen +1000  saracat   Jul-05-10 04:02 AM   #64 
        - thank you. +100.  Hannah Bell   Jul-05-10 04:23 AM   #68 
        - pwned  jgraz   Jul-05-10 08:36 AM   #70 
        - Deleted message  Name removed   Jul-05-10 01:36 PM   #105 
        - And one for you:  Ignis   Jul-06-10 11:21 AM   #117 
  - Some clearly aren't happy with our Democratic Presidential heroes that  saracat   Jul-05-10 04:08 AM   #65 
  - This OP is an unbelievable attempt to equate the founding fathers  Raineyb   Jul-05-10 09:52 AM   #74 
     - +1000  donco6   Jul-05-10 07:16 PM   #110 
  - Could you please use something less offensive than "Solidarity Democrat"?  Cleobulus   Jul-04-10 09:51 PM   #50 
  - +1  dflprincess   Jul-04-10 09:58 PM   #51 
  - +2  QC   Jul-04-10 09:59 PM   #52 
  - Sorry you don't like what 80% of the Democratic party is  berni_mccoy   Jul-04-10 10:37 PM   #53 
  - T.J. might not put it that way.  DirkGently   Jul-04-10 10:57 PM   #58 
  - What the hell does my post have to do with liking or not liking...  Cleobulus   Jul-05-10 12:55 AM   #60 
  - +3  ima_sinnic   Jul-05-10 01:48 AM   #61 
  - Sorry, "Solidarity Democrat" was most popular with the focus groups  jgraz   Jul-05-10 08:40 AM   #71 
  - Kick  Scurrilous   Jul-04-10 10:38 PM   #54 
  - I'm impressed that your OP got 12 replies in before someone gratuitously brought up slavery.  apocalypsehow   Jul-05-10 01:58 AM   #62 
  - Slavery is not so gratuitous for those of us descended from those who  Raineyb   Jul-05-10 09:56 AM   #75 
     - Gratuitous hand-waving, and several generations removed. Please try again. n/t.  apocalypsehow   Jul-06-10 07:03 AM   #115 
  - So now we have our own little version of the right-wing echo chamber.  Greyhound   Jul-05-10 03:30 AM   #63 
  - While commercials were running during a show I was watching, I clicked over  truedelphi   Jul-06-10 01:31 PM   #122 
  - There's a much better post about Jefferson on the front page.  laughingliberal   Jul-05-10 04:13 AM   #66 
  - Why are you so threatened by Jefferson's own words?  berni_mccoy   Jul-05-10 08:02 AM   #69 
     - My problem is with your misuse of them.  Raineyb   Jul-05-10 09:59 AM   #76 
     - It's pretty damn hard to misuse his words when they are direct quotes.  berni_mccoy   Jul-05-10 11:04 AM   #84 
        - You use direct quotes then go on to editorialize in a way to completely  Raineyb   Jul-05-10 12:10 PM   #94 
        - Falsly implying that Jefferson would ever support the Corporate  sabrina 1   Jul-05-10 12:44 PM   #98 
        - I never made any such conclusion and you can't put the words in my mouth. Please try again  berni_mccoy   Jul-05-10 01:32 PM   #102 
        - No, it's not hard to misuse someone's words, even when  sabrina 1   Jul-05-10 12:49 PM   #99 
     - No problem at all. Just pointed to a wonderful post with some of Jefferson's words.  laughingliberal   Jul-05-10 10:23 AM   #77 
     - Why do you so misinterpret Jefferson's words? He was certainly  sabrina 1   Jul-05-10 10:31 AM   #79 
        - +1!  OmmmSweetOmmm   Jul-05-10 10:53 AM   #80 
        - +2 nt  laughingliberal   Jul-05-10 10:54 AM   #81 
        - No interpretation at all. Simply posted Jefferson's own words. Unlike you  berni_mccoy   Jul-05-10 11:05 AM   #87 
           - No, you posted his words out of context and left out his most  sabrina 1   Jul-05-10 11:38 AM   #89 
              - Exactly. Then have the nerve to pretend that Jefferson's words aren't being  Raineyb   Jul-05-10 12:11 PM   #95 
              - Deleted message  Name removed   Jul-05-10 01:33 PM   #103 
                 - Now you prove you make things up. I don't have 'friends'  sabrina 1   Jul-05-10 02:26 PM   #106 
  - well then obviously we should give even more support to the republican/neocon agenda  meow mix   Jul-05-10 10:31 AM   #78 
  - This reads like an excerpt from the Texas School Book Commission. nt  bertman   Jul-05-10 11:01 AM   #83 
  - oh SNAP!  nashville_brook   Jul-05-10 11:05 AM   #86 
  - Nailed It.  bvar22   Jul-05-10 11:30 AM   #88 
  - Nothing but insults in response to Jefferson's own words. Got it.  berni_mccoy   Jul-05-10 11:54 AM   #90 
  - It was over WAAAY back with Sabrina 1  donco6   Jul-05-10 07:19 PM   #112 
  - You rule.  asdjrocky   Jul-05-10 12:00 PM   #91 
  - LOL...apt comparison in many ways.  Forkboy   Jul-05-10 12:55 PM   #101 
  - OUCH! That's gonna leave a scar! n/t  QC   Jul-05-10 03:46 PM   #107 
  - Deleted message  Name removed   Jul-05-10 11:04 AM   #85 
  - Attempting to resolve such issues by quoting a Founding Father is futile.  Hosnon   Jul-05-10 12:05 PM   #92 
  - Resolving issues was not the intention of the op.  asdjrocky   Jul-05-10 12:07 PM   #93 
     - Yes it was. The OP clearly wants to demonstrate that "Solidarity Democrats" ...  Hosnon   Jul-05-10 12:36 PM   #97 
     - You can try all you want to put words that aren't there in my post, but you will fail.  berni_mccoy   Jul-05-10 01:35 PM   #104 
        - Yada, yada, yada.  asdjrocky   Jul-06-10 11:33 AM   #119 
     - Well, "sit down and shut up" is ONE way of resolving issues.  Ignis   Jul-06-10 11:30 AM   #118 
  - Well - he could have just gone along with the British! Many did. When the core values differ -  grahamhgreen   Jul-05-10 12:30 PM   #96 
  - The New Labeling to go with The New Rulez?  Warren Stupidity   Jul-05-10 03:54 PM   #108 
  - The problem with the solidarity and compromise themes is  mmonk   Jul-05-10 07:23 PM   #114 

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