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Compromise: A modern day concept

I read today's headline "House passes health bill after final day of drama," not with any feelings of victory or defeat, but only indifference bordering on sorrow.

I am happy that health care will now be extended to millions of underprivileged Americans, and that we are finally catching up with the rest of the western world in providing healthcare to our citizens. In fact, I'm very happy.

Our health care system is broken and outdated, and needed to be changed, and there is no better time than now to make those changes. We cannot afford to let millions of Americans stew in sickness and disease because they can't afford to see a doctor, then having their illness end up costing everyone more when they take a turn for the worse.

If a government take-over is all that will give the underprivileged the medical attention they're entitled to, then that's what needs to happen.

The sorrow comes from watching the system and the way in which the bill was passed. To get their health care bill through, the Democrats had to rely entirely on their own party. Not a single Republican voted "yes" on the bill.

As cynical as I am towards Republicans, my conscience dictates that there had to have been one, who knew their business and genuinely had the interests of the country in mind when they voted "no" to the health care bill. If not, then how about any single member of the 20 or so Democrats who voted against it as well?

If there was one -- just a single lonely one -- then there was a genuine case that should have been discussed, an opinion that deserved to be considered and never was.

Perhaps my feelings lack a fundamental grasp on reality. Maybe this is just the new era in politics, maybe this is the way it is and has to be from now on, maybe nothing can be accomplished anymore except by pure muscle force and dirty politics. Could that be?

Is compromise and democracy impossible in the modern world, where everyone in Washington is as high-strung as a ukulele and just groping for an excuse to rip someone's throat out? If a group of Democrats and Republicans sat down at a table and actually tried to work something out, would they just end up killing each other? Should I cut the idealism, quit criticizing what I can't understand, and shut up?

If so, then we as a country are in serious trouble. The men and women in Washington -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- cannot play their selfish childish gimme games any longer and then turn around and call themselves our representatives.

Americans are watching their televisions right now, watching in disgust and disapproval at the politicians with their loud mouths and little ears. Watching them hold shouting contests. "Let's do this," says one. "You can't do that!" cries another, it's not allowed!" "Yes We Can!" screams the first, "my team is bigger!" And a bill is passed.

Americans are watching this all go down and they are thinking. "Why am I paying that person to represent me? I could do that." It won't be too long, if history has any bearing on the future, before the thinking turns into talking, and not too long after that when the talking turns into doing.

The day of the Democrat and the Republican is numbered, and I advise all the politicians in Washington to make nice quickly. Because pretty soon it will be them up against a foe unlike any they've met before, a collective force much larger than their own combined, one that can't be defeated by silky rhetoric or back-room schemes, one that considers itself neither liberal nor conservative, Republican nor Democrat nor Communist nor Fascio, and goes by only one name: We the People.

Nathan Kitzmann is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.