The Garden City Telegram
3/5/2014
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Ike flight — Wichita takes right turn in renaming its airport.

The Wichita City Council recently endorsed a tribute to a great Kansan.

On Tuesday, the council agreed to name Wichita Mid-Continent Airport after the 34th president of the United States. The airport soon will be known as the "Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport."

Supporters pitched the change as a way to bring more recognition to the city, and honor a world leader who grew up in Abilene.

Those familiar with the two-term president's service know he first distinguished himself as a military officer. A West Point graduate, he served in World War I, went on to be appointed commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces during World War II, and issued the go-ahead for the successful D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Fast forward many decades, to how changing the name of the Wichita airport does more than honor a former president with Kansas roots. The move also delivers an opportunity to reflect on Eisenhower's leadership ability, and lessons related to his public service that should apply today.

A Republican who would reach across the aisle to get things done, Eisenhower could work effectively with Democrats, and did so in such ways as solving a serious budget crunch during his administration.

In the White House at a time Democrats had solid control of Congress, Eisenhower delivered proof that even a divided government did not have to result in gridlock and ideological wars that stand in the way of progress.

Ike's immense nationwide popularity no doubt helped in that regard. Perhaps more importantly, Eisenhower and his Democratic foes in Congress knew when to fight and when to give in.

The art of compromise is essential to democracy. Unfortunately, it would appear that compromise has gone out of style in a political climate of extreme partisanship.

Far too many lawmakers today have an all-or-nothing approach, the kind of thinking that has hindered progress in Washington, D.C., and statehouses across the nation.

As the Wichita airport moves forward with a fitting name change, those in public service today would be wise to reflect on and follow the positive example set by the president from Kansas.