I absolutely love this country, issues and all. I really mean that, but at the same time I can’t think of a better place that typifies the concept of “freedom within limits.”

Go ahead and think what you like; just don’t tell anybody unless what you’re thinking goes with the current trend.

People have become entirely too polarized with concern to political ideology. God help you if you’re on the “wrong side” of the dominant ideology in any given room.

But it wasn’t always like that.

I remember in high school how excited I was when I turned 18 and was about to participate in my first presidential election. I specifically remember what one young and energetic candidate promised America.

“Hope is back in America—we are on the right track to the 21st century…Our strategy is simple but profound: opportunity for all, responsibility for all, a strong American community where everyone has a place and plays a role.”

And thus, in 1996, I gave my support to William Jefferson Clinton for President of the United States. I have neither regretted nor been ashamed of supporting Bill, even in light of all the subsequent controversy surrounding his presidency. I was a Democrat, and I proclaimed it proudly.

In 2004, I flipped, and voted for Bush. I was older, and I wanted smaller government. I figured since the Republicans had always been on the side of smaller government, it was a “no-brainer.” So, I picked up my “talking points” at the front door and began the walk of the Texas conservative.

Debating politics used to be fun, now it’s just dangerous. When I was a Democrat, I could go toe-to-toe with a Republican and nobody got offended.

Yes, things got heated, but jugulars were left intact.

Sadly, that’s no longer the case. Radicals from both sides of the bell curve have the bullhorn now and they’re screaming over the heads of the center of the curve in an attempt to drown out each other.

They have appointed themselves as the poster children of the American right and left.

Somewhere people have misplaced their brains and have actually begun to believe the radical babble spewing from the mouths of idiots, and everyone’s losing because of it.

I understand the duty each American citizen has to hold his or her government accountable, and I embrace that with both arms. Want to beat up on Georgie? Go for it. Criticize the hell out of the government; it’s your fundamental right.

But seriously pick up your brains off the floor and start debating like the “open-minded” people we claim to be.

This country needs to stop, take a deep breath and take the stick out of its ass.

And by God I’m going to help it out.

I’m going to continue to hold a mirror up to society and write crazy commentaries when radicals go wild.

Everyone is fair game—conservative, liberal, black, white, straight, gay, male, female, vegan and meat-eater alike.

When people go overboard, I’m going to point it out. And if you get offended, then stop and think why. As they say in “Rounders,”

“If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, you ARE the sucker.”

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