When I first started posting here on USMB, about two years ago, I was swept up in the political rivalry between liberals and conservatives. I joined in. I was resentful toward Christians, pro-lifers, big business, and many other kinds of conservatives and conservative goals and ideals. I admit it. I Christian bashed. I called people names. I looked down on conservatives as backward, ignorant, hateful, intolerant racists. But, pretty soon, despite my best efforts, I realized that there are conservatives that I liked even if I didn't agree with their world-view: such as Immie, Gunny, Si Modo, and many others whose time I won't waste by listing them all here. But you know who you are. And you all know that I respect you and your views. There are a lot of conservatives who insult, put down, call names, and maybe even hate liberals. And there are just as many liberals who do the same. After I let go of seeing conservatives as "the other" side and just people whose lives have shaped them and whose experiences have led them to be conservative, after I stopped labeling them, I realized that they are people just like me. They're Americans. I've seen the rancor between the two perspectives grow worse over the last two decades, especially the last year. And especially here on USMB. And just as much on Fox, MSNBC, etc. I realize that this is something that has become a tool for politicians, be they Republican or Democrat. Divide and conquer. Gain support through like-minded hate or intolerance of the other side. It has ground down and brought the wheels of political progress to a halt. And even worse than that, it has turned Americans against eachother. It reminds me of a very famous quote: United we stand, divided we fall. The anger, hate, intolerance, and, more importantly, the distrust that have resulted from this rift between Americans makes it impossible for many of us to remain open to what eachother thinks and feels. We've stopped caring about eachother. I'm a former Marine and was called a traitor by another poster here on USMB because of my liberal perspective. Now that is sad. I swore to protect the Constitution and have never betrayed that vow. I understand that some people post here on USMB to blow off steam, to express their anger, or just to troll. Sometimes they are harder to see than those of us who are here to communicate, learn, and gain understanding, and to express our views. But if we all ignored that hateful posts and simply tried to communicate openly and honestly, and with compassion for eachother, perhaps the rift between Americans could be, if never healed, reduced. Perhaps someone might be inspired by our compassion and start a movement that unites Americans without there needing to be another 9/11 to do it. Who knows? All I know is that I like many liberals and conservatives. I don't think either can be broadly painted and neither should be considered bad people. So let's pay attention to when political leaders say something that widens that division between us. Let's be aware that they are doing it. And let's NOT support them. All of us together, and maybe we can make a real and positive difference that all of us, liberal or conservative, can agree to and leave as a legacy for following generations and as an example for the rest of the world. Thanks, Plymco, and every liberal and conservative who have been civil to eachother, for inspiring this thread - I hope it inspired others.