Paige Nazinitsky

TAMPA, Fla. — Thirty dollars for a Republican National Convention t-shirt? Well, I knew they had to pay for the Convention somehow. The stage alone cost $2.4 million. The stadium is totally renovated, replete with new seats, fresh coats of paint, miles of cables and of course, those gorgeous high-definition screens that tower behind the speakers.

Yet with all the money spent on this spectacle, out of control spending by the government was the focus of this year’s Republican National Convention. But neither side is innocent. The Democratic National Convention costs millions as well.

What if the two parties stopped fighting for once and instead pooled their money and ideas for the good of the nation? It’s no shock that 40 percent of registered voters identify as independent. It often seems party warfare is ever-present, and that one party’s goal is not to better the country, but rather to stop the “enemy.”

Stop the enemy?

Party warfare?

These aren’t words that should be used when describing our political process. The polarization of the parties has left a huge portion of the population unsure of where to send their vote, as neither side represents their ideals. I know it’s not a new concept, but after spending a week at the Republican National Convention, my biggest take-away is the desire for bipartisan bills and cooperation.

At the RNC, what surprised me most was the number of delegates who also felt this way. I spoke to a Massachusetts delegate who voted for Ron Paul, despite Romney being guaranteed the bid. He said Romney’s time as the governor of his home state was no reason to vote for him. His reasoning was simple: why vote for a candidate you don’t believe in just because an organization says you should?

He believes you should have candidates who represents the people and who aren’t so intense in their battle against the opposing party.

In all walks of life, compromise is necessary. Opinions are never homogeneous. When dealing with a nation, that is even more so. So why in our government is compromise a foreign idea? If the job of Congress is to pass laws to improve the lives of its citizens, shouldn’t they do that regardless of what party they are in? If someone has a good idea, why can you not vote for it unless you are a member of the same party? The basic lessons of cooperation are taught in kindergarten. I wonder at what point our government decided it was no longer an important concept.

Keep your political parties and opinions. Parties and opinions aren’t the issue. Your opinions are what give you the ideas to pass laws. The issue is when party affiliation gets in the way of legislation. It turns law making into spiteful attacks. It prevents good bills from ever getting to the floor. There has not been a major bipartisan compromise in a while.

It’s not that our country has a reason to be divided. With a terrible deficit, high unemployment and a war on terror, shouldn’t our country be united? If the government can’t even compromise on a budget, how can they help the citizens of America?

So I say to the parties, just try a little compromise.