As Americans, we are told a lot we live in the best country in the world. And I believe that to be the truth. There has never been, nor ever will be a country that is as phenomenally great as the one we live in.

We have the freedom to live where we want, pursue whatever career we want, get married (or stay single), raise a family, join whatever church we want, vote for our leaders and our policies and the list goes on and on.

We also have the freedom to form our own opinions on things and to express those in a variety of ways. That’s a prized freedom that we have and one that nobody should take for granted. But sometimes I wonder if that very freedom is paralyzing us as a nation.

It seems today that it is almost impossible for any two people of differening opinions to discuss things openly without there being a feeling of intense antagonism between the two. I see this (and even experienced it) in my day to day life and I watch it on all the TV news shows and I hear about it with our political leaders and I am curious if we are going to ever be able to meet in the middle on some things and get anything accomplished.

I have very strong opinions on a wide variety of subjects, some of which I’ve mentioned in previous hubs. I believe abortion is wrong, I believe in the right to own guns, I do not agree with homosexual marriage. I don’t believe in evolution, nor do I believe in everything that is being said about global warming.

But I am okay with discussing these issues with people who totally disagree with me. Some of these issues I will probably never concede the points of the other side, but I have no problem hearing those points. And I want to hear those points. It helps me think through my own opinions and ideas and reaffirm whether or not I really believe the way I think I do.

This is kind of a weird story, but it illustrates my point. A lady I work with takes care of abandoned animals and she was asking us for our opinon on something. She had brought a couple dogs home that had “accidentally” mated and now the female was pregnant. She wasn’t sure if she should let the puppy give birth and if she did, then what should she do with the puppies (she is not fond of breeders and if she sold the puppies, then she’d feel like a breeder).

Well, I half-jokingly commented that I don’t like the idea of aborting a life and started to go into how I thought she should just give the puppies away…when she cut me off and said, “I don’t want to hear about your ideas on abortion, because I’m right and you’re wrong.”

I was surprised into silence. Her and I had never discussed abortion at all, in fact other than indicating I was pro-life when asked, the subject had never came up. So I was dumbfounded by the harshness of her words.

I know two other people, one who believes that the Iraqi war was a horrible thing for us to do, and the other who believes that we absolutely had to go over there and do what we did. I’ve had discussions with both and my thoughts on the war are this; at the time I thought we should have gone over because all evidence sure seemed to indicate that it was the right thing to do. Now, several years later, when there have been no weapons of mass destruction found, I no longer feel as strongly that we did the right thing. But I think we can’t leave until we are sure that Iraq is a safe place to live (as safe as possible for that part of the world).

When I discuss my thoughts with either individual it is so funny, both of seem to think that I either need to believe the war was right or it was wrong. There’s no room for a middle ground with these guys. When did the war become a Republican/Democratic issue for goodness sake?

It seems like this type of mentality permeates so much of our society. I watch some of the shenanigans with our Senators and Representatives and it’s a wonder that they ever get anything done or passed. No one can find a middle ground, everyone’s determined it must be their way.

Our freedoms are the envy of the world and one of our most precious gifts given to us by our founding fathers. I just hope that the freedoms we have and cherish so much don’t completely paralyze our country into inaction.

NOTE: This was originally published by myself on my old HubPages account on 12/13/2008.

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