“Hamilton” is a juggernaut musical currently fetching at least $700 for prime seats. It’s a civic class in hip hop, George Washington’s cabinet argument as rap battle for the future of the fledgling American economy: Jefferson’s rural and agricultural against Hamilton’s urban and commercial. Reason in rhyme with best diss wins, which is not too far from the truth. Jefferson and Hamilton are at the opposite ends and no one wins. So they strike a compromise, both losing to win.
A piece in the musical titled “The Room Where it Happens” is a retelling of that compromise over a dinner. Hamilton gets the federal government to assume state debt and tax individual states for it while Jefferson gets the capitol, destined for Pennsylvania, closer to his home on the Potomac. Historians call that dinner the “Compromise of 1790.”
The current demonizing of compromise as the bane of Washington politics is a travesty, a straw man used by candidates to win cheap votes which leads to the farce of politicians running as “non-politicians.” To some, Mr. Trump’s non-political background and political ineptitude makes him the best politician.
In previous columns I argued that conversation and compromise, the scapegoat for everything ugly in politics, is what we must get better at. My closing argument is for more compromise…