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"When responsible people sit at the table and discuss matters with Finland's interests at heart, then solutions always will be found." That's a quote in the April 18 paper by a member of Finland's Conservative Party. The other article I read about Finland recently was regarding the superior quality of their schools.

We Americans have always been so smug about our superior democracy, so sure that our way of life is the only "right way." Both articles could have been about the United States not so many decades ago. That was when partisan politics were left outside the door of the congressional hall. Our elected officials cared enough about the American people and their best interests to spend their time reasoning together how to best serve those interests.

Idealistic? You bet. I hear a lot of derision about idealistic politicians, as if it were a bad thing. At least if they are aspiring to the ideal, they're not wallowing in the pig sty of partisan politics and mud-slinging.

I fear the people we have elected are so hell-bent on having their own way, they won't listen to each other, to explore the worth of a differing opinion.

Since when has "compromise" become a bad word? No country worth its salt has progressed without a hefty dose of compromise, a willingness on both sides to give up a little to get a little. Ours was founded on compromises, some good and some bad, but at least with a willingness to progress. They also had sense enough to realize the kinks could be worked out as they went along.

It would serve us well to look around at the rest of the world once in a while. We might even find a few examples to follow, if we ever manage to get over ourselves.

Shirley Schatz

Absarokee

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