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Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Compromise. Do you ever think about how rare it is to get exactly what you want in this life? It seems to me that our lives often become a struggle in which we balance the things we want against the things we don’t want, but in the end, we’re just trying to get by and make the best out of the situation we’re offered.

Lately—this morning even—I’ve been thinking about the issue of polarity: right vs. left; men vs. women; rich vs. poor; healthy vs. sick.

In our individual lives, we must always find a middle way. We compromise, find a way that’s not exactly what we prefer, but is least like what we abhor.

But what’s weird about this is how unusual such compromise is in our public lives. For example, when political parties mostly operate in the middle ground, working together toward solutions, voters develop apathy. “Oh,” I hear people say, “there’s no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. It doesn’t matter who wins, they all suck. We need a choice.” But then when the parties move apart or when there’s an issue that clearly divides and defines them, like the war on Iraq, people demand a compromise. But sometimes there is no compromise; it’s the very definition of enigma.

I guess, from a public-life standpoint—as members of society—we are really busy people. We want our choices to be clear and easy. Thinking about the grays is much too difficult when we are deciding how to spend our limited resources—emotional, intellectual, financial.

I don’t know. I guess the best I can offer as I sit here chewing on this topic, is that we must actively seek information, look at all sides to whatever argument, and act when we decide we understand the arguments, and we’ve heard the best solution. It probably won’t be exactly what we want, but it might be what we need. Sorry, Mick.