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The Art of Compromise



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It has been a long summer of intense national debate over an extraordinarily complex issue. Health care reform has divided the nation.

Shrill voices from the fringes of both major political parties continually add accelerant to the fiery debate; while those with more reasoned views struggle to be heard.

A recent, yet under-celebrated national holiday, Constitution Day, provides a reminder that good, ultimately can come from such passionate discussions and that there is hope for resolving the health care issue.

222 years ago, the nation's Founding Fathers spent a long, hot summer in Philadelphia hammering out details for a new Constitution. It seemed the young nation would fall apart before any sort of agreement would be reached, especially on the role of the federal government.

In the end, the Founders gave succeeding generations a magnificent lesson in the art of political compromise. They softened strongly held personal positions for the good of the broader community. On September 17, 1787, they adopted a Constitution for the ages.

It may be a stretch to compare health care reform to the need for a Constitution, but it is no stretch at all to contemplate the traditional role of compromise in America's political process. It is time, in KSL's view, for all Americans to take a lesson from history.

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