Politicians could take a class on conflict resolution

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards


While the Big Lake School District is pondering requirements for graduation, perhaps they should consider adding a class on the art of negotiation and conflict resolution.
All too often people with opposing viewpoints become stuck in their own opinions and end up mired in a state of conflict. 
What happens when two sides refuse to work together to resolve their issues? Everything goes into a state of limbo. There is not movements at all. Neither side gets what they want and everyone around them is forced to deal with bickering. 
This is not helpful.
Case in point is the federal government, buried deeply in a dispute between republicans and democrats over health care-or lack thereof. 
Neither side is willing to budge. 
The people who depend on the government, which is elected by the people, for the people, suffer because they do not receive their pension payments, social security checks or tax returns in a timely manner.
That is all right with the politicians though. They are still drawing their pay checks. And they have their own health insurance coverage.
While every other Western nation has some sort of national health insurance scheme, ensuring all of their citizens are able to access care without going bankrupt, the United States alone stands in stark contrast.
Yes, we should all be self-sufficient. Ideally every job would offer some kind of affordable health insurance or every citizen should be able to earn enough to purchase health insurance independently.
But we don’t live in an ideal world. 
Far too many Americans are without any kind of health insurance. This means people postpone checkups, vaccinations and routine doctor visits until their situation has reached catastrophic proportions.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that saying applies to healthcare in spades. It seems obvious that denying healthcare to some will result in greater costs to all of us as conditions which could be prevented or easily treated in their early stages progress to the point that fixing them will be costly.
Negotiating requires listening to both sides of the story. It means searching for win-win solutions. It involves compromise, tractability and a willingness to work together, all of which seems to be seriously lacking in our nation’s capitol. 
Becoming entrenched in one position, being too rigid to consider unbending, is a trap. Our enemies must delight in seeing the state this ongoing squabble has put our country in. They don’t need to attack us when we are attacking ourselves.
Whichever side of the healthcare debate you are on, the current situation among our country’s leaders is clearly not tenable for long. Whatever the outcome of this dispute, it is bad for our position in the world and bad for the people. 
We must let our politicians know we, the people, have had enough. It is time to move forward and resolve this conflict, one way or another. Start talking and start listening. You may not like the compromise, but it has to be better than the present stalemate.
If they want to get re-elected, our representatives  had better start to re-negotiate and not stop until they find a solution and do it now. 
The people they represent are suffering. They are fed up with this partisan bickering. We want government to do the job it is very well paid for, not mire the country-and the world-in a silly and destructive stand off. 


RUNNING FOR OFFICE. Big Lake City Council Members Mike Wallen and Dick Backlund are challenged by former Council Member Duane Langsdorf. The three are competing for two seats on the council.

TODD LAUDERDALE of Rachel’s Challenge brought a message to Big Lake students this week. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

THE GREEN MAN is a legendary character which goes back thousands of years.