I just finished reading the news tonight and lately it just about the same every day. In the 50-something years I have been around I have never seen this level of antagonism, angst, and outright hatred that we have today. What happened to respectful disagreement? Why have we gone to demonizing those who don’t agree with our point of view?

This person is a socialist, that person is a racist… Wow! The current crop of politicians are a reflection of how our population feels. If they didn’t reflect how we feel, they wouldn’t have the following that they do. As a student of history, I look back and the last time the antagonism reached these levels was about 1861 and we know what happened then. Approximately 620,000 dead and our country in ruins. We called it the Civil War.

Too many of our politicians are WAY too far out on one side or the other. They will say almost anything to bash their opponents. They will use almost any triggering word to make them look bad. How is this helpful in any way? Rather than letting me know what your ideas and plans are for governing, they resort to twitter to tell me how bad the other person is. I’ve only met one that refused to join in on the bashing. He did disagree with how things were being done, but he was respectful in how he did it. Refreshing! And rare…

I have spent many an evening deep in discussion with my friends and after some introspection, I realized that I am not part of the solution, therefore I AM part of the problem. While I am not advocating that we all sit around a campfire singing kumbaya, I do suggest that we ratchet down the rhetoric. I believe that we need to return to a more civil discourse on political subjects. I can understand that someone may passionately believe in a given topic, but please understand and respect that I may not have the same beliefs that you do. This doesn’t make me or you a bad person. We just don’t agree on that topic. It could be that we are talking about abortion, immigration or gun control. (That’s a topic for another editorial in itself.) I have read about husbands and wives divorcing or families that won’t sit down to Thanksgiving dinner together, because someone voted for a person that someone else didn’t like. Again, 1861 where some family members were on opposing sides. I REALLY don’t want to see my kids going through that kind of disaster.

I know that great things start with just a few people saying that they have had enough. If we start letting our elected leaders and those running for office know that we will no longer accept their rhetoric, they will have no choice but to change. You can’t get elected to an office if you are pissing too many people off. I’m not saying that this will change this election cycle but if enough people stand up and say “enough”, our voice will be heard. This republic was founded by people that didn’t have a voice on how they were being governed and if we as a people don’t exercise that right, we will lose it.

I spent almost 21 years of my life defending your rights under the constitution to believe as you will. I will never stop in that endeavor. But we need your help in getting through the political noise. Time to fire up the email, pick up the phone or write a letter and let YOUR voice be heard! And above all else, VOTE!

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