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David Op’t Hof: Support America, not either political party

A supporter of President Donald Trump, center, argues with a counterprotester, left, at a "Free Speech" rally by conservative activists on Boston Common, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston. Thousands of counterprotesters marched through downtown Boston on Saturday, chanting anti-Nazi slogans and waving signs condemning white nationalism ahead of a rally being staged by conservative activists a week after a Virginia demonstration turned deadly. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

I’m seeing a lot of hate going back and forth, left versus right, Democrat versus Republican. It’s an election year, of course, and emotions always run high. But I’m wondering if it’s gotten out of hand.

There are some really hateful statements being made about killing each other, even civil war. Really?

I thought the crowning glory of our democratic system was that we transition from one leader to another without a bloodbath. Have we become a banana republic or military dictatorship where we need a coup to change power?

I think we are all being duped by the dominant political parties. Each party fires up its base with dire predictions about what will happen if the other party gets into power.

The Republican party warns that if the Democrats get in, they’ll take away your guns. The Democrats warn that the Republicans will take away your right to abortion. They use a few of these hot-button issues to get us riled up but do nothing to deal with the pressing problems we face.

Think about it, do you feel our Congress is getting anything done? They seem more intent on winning elections than solving problems and are more focused on blocking each other than cooperating to pass legislation.

I was a proud member of the Republican party until a few years ago, when I realized they were just as much politicians as the Democrats. It became starkly clear to me when Mitch McConnell declared that job No. 1 was to make Barack Obama a one-term president. I didn’t think that was the job of the leader of the Senate — to see to the rejection of the president’s bid for re-election. I felt his job was to legislate for the benefit of the American people.

I realized that my primary allegiance was not to the Republican party, but to the United States of America. I am an American first.

I withdrew from the Republican party after over 40 years of membership and am now an independent. I can make my own choice about who to vote for and don’t need a party to tell me who to choose.

Send a message that you are not a pawn of the politicians, but that you can think for yourself. Take your membership and money out of the party to which you now belong. Tell them you are tired of politics as usual — that you want real action on real issues. Tell them that you are an American first and that party loyalty is secondary. Stop all the party hatred and reach across the aisle.

I believe most Americans lean more towards the center and that we would be better served by meeting in the middle than attacking each other from the extremes.

David Op't Hof

David Op’t Hof, Lehi, is a retired educator who believes in the United States of America as the light of the world.

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