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Compromise will solve U.S. problems, not bullying

Mirriam-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines "bully" as "a blustering, browbeating person; especially... to others who are weaker;" and (as a verb), "to affect by means of force or coercion; to use browbeating language or behavior."

During the past few years bullying has become a serious concern, especially among children and teenagers. In several widely publicized cases, bullying led to suicide by the victim. Parents and other adults might ask, "Why did this happen? What did we do wrong bringing up our kids, that they could be so heartless and cruel to others?"

Were they following the example of politicians and others who determine fiscal policy and the direction of the U.S. economy? The 1 percent at the top of the wealth ladder dominate and bully the remaining 99 percent, who lack comparable power. They hijack the political process, refusing to increase taxes on the wealthiest, while demanding that the poor, weak and vulnerable take cuts in essential benefits. Such bullying occurs at both national and state levels.

The argument that "everyone must sacrifice" in order to raise funds to decrease budget deficits is specious at best. The poor and middle class who sacrifice basic human necessities bear no resemblance to millionaires or billionaires "sacrificing" another yacht, luxury home, or lavish vacation.

Those who work to protect the interests of top income elites, banks, brokerage houses and stock brokers bully legislators to force their agenda on the people. But following the bank failures and ensuing recession three years ago, which depleted the savings of millions of Americans and devastated the real estate market, thousands of citizens around the world have demonstrated against the banking and investment industries.

Right wing Republicans have declared openly that they will bring down the Obama administration, refusing to negotiate in good faith to solve our country's financial problems through compromise. They have repeatedly declared that their goal is "to make Obama a one term president" even if it hurts their own party as well as millions of other Americans.

The best way to solve our economic problems and move forward is through intelligent civil discourse, compromise on both sides, and fair negotiation, not by building roadblocks to progress. Declining to look at all possible solutions is counter-productive. Trying to force one's agenda through bullying, blustering rhetoric, and refusal to negotiate hurts everyone.

Let's hope these tactics result in the offenders being voted out of office. We should then elect people who will pledge to work faithfully for the common good, as democracy demands, and arrive at real solutions. -- Liz Sweder, Fergus Falls