It occurs to me that contrary people (another reason for calling them Cons) have a resistance reflex. It might be compared to the freeze response in some critters. That is doesn’t get noticed may be a consequence of the binary brain getting stuck with just two alternatives (fight or flight), or it may be that resistance, being an absence of motion, just doesn’t get noticed.
If what we perceive as the Cons’ obstruction is merely resistance for resistance sake, laking any inclination towards an alternative, the question becomes not how can we compromise, but how can they be moved. And the answer, I would suggest, is “gently but firmly.” Pick them up and put them somewhere else. Distraction might work. If they will not be moved, perhaps the answer is to go around.
I am not sure that “obstruction” is the right word to describe Con behavior. Obstruction is the result, but the behavior involved is more passive — resistance to going along or doing anything at all.
The Cons are insecure and full of fear. We make a mistake when we accept the common assumption that the normal response to fear is either to fight or take flight. Just as common, if not more, is for an organism to freeze and, since most predators are attuned to motion, escape notice.
The Cons in Congress have adopted the mode of resistance. They are motivated by fear, the fear of being unemployed (in the 2010 election, 108 members of the House experienced that) by an electorate that’s already gone on record as not liking them. So, there’s no incentive for them to compromise or get anything done, but collect their pay-checks while they can. Many are, like the unjust steward in the bible, dead men walking and making their final pleas by providing favors to their wealthy supporters, writing down tax obligations at no cost to themselves.
It’s not a crime, by the way. Stewards are hired to manage other people’s assets. Those who hire them rely on their good judgement. If that judgement turns out to be bad, the only recourse is to fire them.
Do our Congress critters realize that when they apply for the job? Many, obviously, don’t. Many seem to think their job is to make rules which, if they don’t make any sense, don’t matter because they never apply to them and, if they did, they’d simply do what they always do with what they don’t like, resist.
Strange as it seems, resistance actually seems to be the Cons’ experience of freedom. Herman Melville wrote about it in his short story, “Bartleby the Scrivener,” who preferred not to do any work.
If one is a binary thinker in whose world the only options are yes and no, then the only choice, if one is not to just go along, is whichever one represents resistance.
But, if that’s the case, then it is possible for the options to be set up solely for the opportunity to resist, regardless of what the subject matter. So, for example, the President’s judicial nominations are being resisted because they are there to resist. If resistance is the mode, it makes no difference what is proposed.
Then the question is what’s to be done to get around the resistance. Overcoming is out of the question and so is compromise. Gentle persuasion probably won’t work because it will generate more antagonism and intransigence. Moving them out of the way, metaphorically, by focusing their attention elsewhere might work. If that means practicing deception, like a magician, so be it.
The Cons probably won’t even mind because in their binary world lots of stuff they don’t notice happens as if by magic.