I think the political junkies among us might be surprised at how tolerant a lot of Americans are toward opposing views.
The other day, shortly before dawn, I was having a conversation with an old cowboy, semi-retired from rodeoing and working as a wrangler here at Rancho Cortez.
You might figure he would be conservative, and you would be right.
But he's more of a Western conservative than a Shiite religious type. He believes in live-and-let-live and self-sufficiency, two ideas that if they were more popular among modern Americans would solve a lot of problems in this country.
He didn't vote for Barack Obama, but I was surprised to hear his reaction toward the way things are going in Washington.
"The man won the election," he said. "That ought to mean something."
Yes, the man won the election with the biggest margin of victory since the 1984 Reagan landslide, but his political opponents have denied his legitimacy since the day he took office.
It's exactly the same strategy Democrats used whenW. took office in 2001.
And do you remember, from 1993 on, conservatives reminding people that "Bill Clinton never got 50 percent of the vote" in either election?
I hope my point is coming across, because this isn't a liberal or a conservative screed. I'm just trying to point out that nothing gets done for good or for bad when we deny that elections have consequences.
What we have happening now in our politics is the equivalent of two ancient enemies locked in mortal combat at the wheel of the ship of state, at the same time the ship is heading into a hurricane or over a waterfall.
Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, in politics these days are destroying our country.
If we look back to the 1950s, the last time there was a real political consensus in this country, Democrats and Republicans were able to work together on big things, and for the most part their disagreements were a matter of degree.
It was a Republican administration that started the interstate highway system, possibly the greatest, most successful public works program ever.
I don't know how we get that back. Certainly one way is to stop listening to the lunatics as if they were serious people. If someone is stirring you up and trying to make you angry -- from the left or the right -- they are not contributing to the public good.
I think most Americans -- the vast middle -- would just as soon see what someone can do when we elect them, rather than watch the party out of power dragging their heels and wasting time.
I don't know which party will be in power after 2012.
I really don't much care anymore.
I think what we need to do, more than anything else, is get rid of all the left-wingers and right-wingers, all the Democrats and Republicans, and give the pragmatists a chance to fix our country.
When I say "get rid of," I don't mean kill or exile.
I'd just put them off on the side with the other angry children and let the grownups work.