May I respectfully disagree with Sandy Thackeray's recent letter ("I cannot compromise," Readers' Forum, Sept. 16) . We live in a democracy in this great land of ours, not a dictatorship. Yes, we are entitled to our opinions/values and those may vary significantly from person to person.

In our system (a democracy), we are entitled to our opinion/values and expect others to respect them, but not particularly agree with them. We have the same responsibility to respect others' opinions/values, though they may differ greatly from ours. It is not a matter of who is right as much as it is what is right.

In a dictatorship, only one opinion counts and that is the one at the top. Is that really what we want? We need to elect "statesmen" and not politicians. We need those who are willing to listen to another's point of view, though different it may be from theirs and then "compromise" to accomplish what is in the best interest of the country. It is folly to think that we are always right and others are wrong.

Compromise is not a weakness but a strength in a democracy and critical if we want to move the country forward. It simply means, I give a little and you give a little — while not giving up core values. Lack of compromise is the problem with so many of our media, politicians in Congress and the administration today. These groups all think they are right and assume a "my way or the highway" mentality. Hence, not much is ever accomplished for the good of the majority.

Is it any wonder that approval ratings are so low among these groups? Can't we all just get along? If that is to be possible, compromise is the key.

Michael Robbins