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The politician has to handle far more than these three contentions above.

Writes an observer of the issue: "This Nebraskan sees it [going ahead with Keystone] as an issue of eminent domain abuse and crony capitalism; not to mention protecting our greatest resource, the Ogalala Aquifer."

Now, how can you maintain a "clean reputation" as a politician in the face of millions of people taking distinctly opposite as well as strongly felt positions? Yet, the matter has to be resolved somehow, by political action.

I think, a reasonable (based on responsible weighing of risks and returns) Keystone-solution is attainable, but not general approval of the politician's achievement (if she's pursuing the reasonable solution) by the public.

A good politician is often in a situation where he is going to lose in some sense precisely for doing the right thing.

This is an issue that is picking up new steam in this part of Nebraska. The "endpoint" (I don't know if that's what it's called, but it's a major junction for the pipeline--both the older one, and the proposed new one), rests near Steele City, which is in my district.

Landowners and others in my district have diametrically opposed views on the pipeline. One landowner may be perfectly happy with granting the easement (there are some financial benefits associated), and many are happy with the way they've been treated by the companies thus far. Go to a neighboring landowner, and you find a totally different perspective.

Some are worried about the potential environmental impact, others (including a number of people I've talked to who work in Natural Resources every day), don't think the threat of a spill to the Aquifer is that great.

There is, really, no middle ground or compromise here that I can see. One side wins, and one side loses...

I think, it is important for the responsible citizen to realise that

there are genuine dilemmas out there, that

we need our political representatives to handle them as best as is possible, that

the unresolved disagreements are not the result of the machinations of evil politicians, and that

we need brave and honest politicians to help maintain trust in a community faced with disruptive and devise issues.

A politician who gives her best to be approachable and transparent – to which there are natural limits – deserves, and indeed requires an active effort on the part of us citizens to understand the dilemmas and prospects of imperfect and less than satisfactory solutions inherent in her job.

We should respect her for doing a job that absolutely needs to be done but that most of us are not prepared to do.

As principals and consumers of politics, we have responsibilities, too, which include fairness and regardfulness vis-à-vis our political representatives.

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